The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1595, the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, on Wednesday (Sept. 25). The SAFE Banking Act passed by a vote of 321-103 and will move to the U.S. Senate.
The SAFE Banking Act ensures that legalized cannabis businesses are not forced to operate on a cash only basis.
There are 47 states that have legalized marijuana in one form or another. States have legalized medical marijuana or recreational cannabis, but banks and financial institutions have completely ignored the marijuana industry.
Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters of California has been a steadfast supporter of the SAFE Banking Act.
“This bipartisan bill addresses a pressing public safety issue for businesses that legally grow, market or sell cannabis in states that have legalized its use and that are currently forced to operate with cash only. 47 states, 3 territories and D.C. have legalized some form of marijuana, and it is time for Congress to act,” said Chairwoman Waters.
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“Cannabis-related businesses are locked out of the banking system, and cannot maintain checking accounts, process payroll obligations or pay taxes. The Financial Services Committee heard testimony in February that these cash-only businesses and their employees have become targets for violent criminals.”
She added that “the SAFE Banking Act addresses this serious problem by providing a safe harbor to financial institutions that choose to serve state-regulated cannabis businesses.”
The bill would also help others, like plumbers or electricians, who provide services to cannabis businesses but face similar challenges with access to banking services. With the passage of this bill, all of these businesses will gain access to traditional financial services that most businesses take for granted.”
Chairwoman Waters has called the SAFE Banking Act a portion of what should be a series of cannabis reform bills. The following is the official summary of the landmark Marijuana Legislation.
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Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019 or the SAFE Banking Act of 2019
This bill generally prohibits a federal banking regulator from penalizing a depository institution for providing banking services to a legitimate marijuana-related business.
Specifically, the bill prohibits a federal banking regulator from
(1) terminating or limiting the deposit insurance or share insurance of a depository institution solely because the institution provides financial services to a legitimate marijuana-related business;
(2) prohibiting or otherwise discouraging a depository institution from offering financial services to such a business;
(3) recommending, incentivizing, or encouraging a depository institution not to offer financial services to an account holder solely because the account holder is affiliated with such a business;
(4) taking any adverse or corrective supervisory action on a loan made to a person solely because the person either owns such a business or owns real estate or equipment leased or sold to such a business; or
(5) penalizing a depository institution for processing or collecting payments for such a business. As specified by the bill, a depository institution shall not, under federal law, be liable or subject to forfeiture for providing a loan or other financial services to a legitimate marijuana-related business.
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For the Complete Text Version Click Here Text: H.R.1595 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)
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