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Press Release: House of Representatives to Vote on Historic Cannabis Banking Bill on Wednesday

Heady Vermont Staff
Heady Vermont Staff 25 Sep 2019

SAFE Banking Act is first standalone cannabis legislation to receive full House vote; would provide safe harbor for banks and lenders to work with state-legal cannabis businesses

National Cannabis Industry Association to hold press conference with lawmakers and allies at House Triangle on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, the House of Representatives will vote on legislation that would allow financial services providers to work with state-legal cannabis businesses without fear of federal prosecution. This historic bill is the first standalone cannabis policy reform to receive a full vote in the House. Livestream of the vote will be available here.

The bill was originally introduced by Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Denny Heck (D-WA), Steve Stivers (R-OH), and Warren Davidson (R-OH) with more than 100 other original cosponsors. It currently has 206 cosponsors in the House. The bill is being voted on suspension, and needs a two-thirds majority, or 290 votes, to be approved in the House.

The SAFE Banking Act would prevent federal banking regulators from punishing banks for working with cannabis- and hemp-related businesses that are obeying state laws or halting their services, taking action on loans made to those businesses, or limiting a depository institution’s access to the Deposit Insurance Fund.

“The SAFE Banking Act would greatly improve public safety and transparency, and represents a chance to even the playing field by allowing small businesses and people from marginalized communities participating in this emerging industry to access traditional lending,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). “Current banking regulations disproportionately hurt small businesses, women, and people of color, and we cannot afford to wait any longer while they are being excluded from the opportunities created by legal cannabis markets. We urge every member of the House who is concerned about safety and fairness to support this bill.”

“After more than six years of advocacy from NCIA, the bill sponsors, and allied organizations on cannabis banking, we are poised to take a huge leap toward more sensible cannabis policies at the federal level,” continued Smith. “We commend this Congress for finally addressing this issue.”

NCIA will host a press conference with lawmakers and allied organizations to discuss the vote on Thursday, September 26 at 2:30 p.m. ET at the House Triangle, just outside the U.S. Capitol.

The press conference will be streamed live on their Facebook page.

The SAFE Banking Act would prevent federal banking regulators from punishing banks for working with cannabis- and hemp-related businesses that are obeying state laws or halting their services, taking action on loans made to those businesses, or limiting a depository institution’s access to the Deposit Insurance Fund. The bill would protect ancillary businesses that work with the cannabis industry from being charged with money laundering and other financial crimes, and requires the Financial Institution Examination Council to develop guidance to help credit unions and banks understand how to lawfully serve cannabis businesses.

This legislation would increase access to capital for small businesses and communities that have been most harmed by prohibition by allowing financial institutions to make loans to cannabis businesses, and requires regular reporting on loan practices involving women and people of color in the cannabis industry.

Cannabis is legal for adults in 11 states, Guam, CNMI, and the District of Columbia, and 33 states as well as several territories have comprehensive medical cannabis laws. The substance is legal in some form in 47 states.

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The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only organization broadly representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

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