House to Vote on SAFE Banking Act

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The U.S. House of Representatives will vote later this month on the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, bipartisan legislation that would allow cannabis businesses to access the federal banking system.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer will bring the bill to the House floor for a vote, according to a CNN report.

“We’re discussing it with members, but it hasn’t been scheduled just yet,” Mariel Saez, a spokesperson for Hoyer’s office, told the news outlet.

The bill, which was introduced in the House in February by Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Denny Heck (D-WA), Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Warren Davidson (R-OH), would prohibit federal banking regulators from penalizing banks that work with state-compliant cannabis-related businesses, taking action on loans made to those businesses or limiting a depository institution’s access to the Deposit Insurance Fund. The bill would also protect ancillary businesses from being charged with money laundering and other financial crimes, and would call on the Financial Institution Examination Council to develop guidance to assist credit unions and banks in serving the cannabis industry.

The House Financial Services Committee approved the SAFE Banking Act in March in a historic 45-15 vote; it was the first time legislation related to cannabis banking was approved by a congressional committee.

Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced a Senate version of the bill in April, and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs held a hearing in July to get perspectives from stakeholders in the cannabis and financial industries on the need to pass the legislation. The SAFE Banking Act has yet to pass out of committee in the Senate, however.

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