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The Safe and Fair Enforcement of Marijuana Banking (SAFE) Act has passed the House of Representatives and will now go to the Senate.
The SAFE Banking Act was reauthorized by the House of Representatives by a 321-101 vote, after receiving bipartisan support. This is the fourth time a banking rule has been passed by the House of Representatives. It must now be approved by the U.S. Senate and signed by President Biden to take effect.
If the legislation passes, financial institutions will be able to work with cannabis companies without fear of retaliation or penalties, giving them access to a wider range of capital.
Although state-level recreational marijuana sales are becoming more legal for adults in the United States, marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.
Strict federal cannabis planning means banks and financiers can be charged with complicity in a federal crime if they encounter the plant.
This makes it virtually impossible for the cannabis industry to work with banks, and many stores require customers to pay in cash.
Businesses then have to store their money in vaults, often with armed guards and vans when it needs to be moved. During tax time, some business owners hire employees to count the money, while others have invested in expensive automatic scales to help them count.
This raises security concerns, as cannabis dispensing businesses are vulnerable to theft, not to mention the added cost of cash transportation.
With a Senate controlled by Democrats and Biden’s nominal support for decriminalizing marijuana, there is some hope that the SAFE Banking Act will finally pass.
However, this bill has failed several times, and Biden has yet to show much optimism regarding the cannabis industry.
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