SAFE Banking Act Reaches 10-Year Milestone as Final Push for Cannabis Banking Reform Begins

Cannabis Banking Reform: A Decade in the Making, Final Push Begins for the SAFE Banking Act

After a decade of persistence, the Safe and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, the groundbreaking legislation aiming to facilitate cannabis banking, commemorates its 10-year anniversary. Lawmakers are gearing up for a final push to pass the bill into law, coinciding with the evolving landscape of cannabis legalization in the United .

Evolution of the Cannabis Banking Bill

Originally introduced as the Marijuana Businesses to Banking Act by former Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) in the 113th Congress back in 2013, the bill has come a long way. With the collaboration of experts in the services industry and the increasing prospects of enactment, the SAFE Banking Act has expanded from its initial seven pages to a comprehensive 38-page bill, ensuring its practical impact beyond mere messaging.

Growing Urgency for Reform

When the bill was first filed, the nation had yet to witness the opening of its first adult-use retailers. Fast forward to today, with 23 states legalizing cannabis for adult use and a majority having medical marijuana programs, lawmakers recognize the urgency of passing the SAFE Banking Act to support the flourishing industry.

Congressional Support and Progress

While the SAFE Banking Act has been approved multiple times in some form on the House side, the current Congress sees the Senate taking the lead. Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY) has plans to take action during the upcoming summer work session, with the bill first moving through the . In May, the committee held a hearing, setting the stage for potential advancement to the Senate floor.

Renewed Hope in Congress

Reflecting on a decade of efforts, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), the top Democratic cosponsor of the bill, expresses hope for the Senate’s support. He believes it is high time to pass this bipartisan, common-sense legislation that will not only save lives but also secure livelihoods. Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH), the lead Republican sponsor, echoes the sentiment and anticipates the bill’s passage with broad support from both chambers and across party lines.

The Bill’s Evolution

Over the years, the SAFE Banking Act has undergone significant growth, expanding from its initial six sections to a comprehensive 15. While the fundamental purpose remains intact—protecting financial institutions that serve state-licensed cannabis businesses—it now offers additional guidance, safeguards for banks working with hemp businesses, protections for federally backed mortgage loans, and requirements for reporting market diversity and suspicious transactions.

Increasing Bipartisan Support

As the prospects for the SAFE Banking Act improved, so did the number of cosponsors. What started with 32 cosponsors in the first House bill, including only three Republicans, has now grown to 59 cosponsors in the current Congress, with 16 of them being Republicans. In the Senate, the bill boasts 40 cosponsors, including seven senators and three independents. With more members expected to join as it progresses, the bill demonstrates a growing bipartisan consensus.

Challenges and Opportunities

While there is considerable optimism surrounding the bill’s passage, potential challenges and revisions loom. Senate Majority Leader Schumer intends to attach language facilitating expungements for prior cannabis convictions when the bill reaches the floor. Meanwhile, debates in the Senate Banking Committee continue, particularly regarding Section 10 of the bill, which some Democrats believe could undermine banking regulations outside the .

Finalizing the Reform

With determination and a focus on bipartisan support, lawmakers aim to pass the SAFE Banking Act this Congress. However, concerns persist about potential political obstacles hindering . Nevertheless, stakeholders and advocates eagerly await the outcome, recognizing the potential positive impact this legislation could have on the cannabis industry, small businesses, and individuals affected by outdated policies.

Conclusion

As the SAFE Banking Act reaches its 10-year milestone, policymakers, industry leaders, and advocates maintain their commitment to achieving meaningful cannabis banking reform. The culmination of a decade’s worth of efforts signals a crucial moment in the push for a safer, fairer, and more accessible financial landscape for the rapidly growing cannabis sector.

Malvin Felix
I'm Malvin, a cannabis news enthusiast who finds joy in staying updated about the latest industry trends. My passion led me to become a dedicated writer, entrepreneur, and investor in the cannabis space. Through my writing, I aim to educate and spark discussions, while my entrepreneurial ventures and strategic investments reflect my commitment to driving positive change in the industry.

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