The SAFE Banking Act passed the House last night in a bipartisan vote, the first step to clearing the way for banks to invest in marijuana businesses across the country. The law would protect financial institutions that serve marijuana businesses from criminal prosecution and other consequences, reported U.S. News & World Report. Because marijuana is illegal at the federal level, federally insured banks and credit unions are wary of working with marijuana businesses, forcing them to deal primarily in cash.
The SAFE Banking Act passed the House by a vote of 321-103, with all but one Democrat and 91 Republicans supporting it. FoxNews called it a “major victory” for the marijuana industry. It’s still uncertain whether the legislation will pass in the Senate. The Senate version of the bill is sponsored by 33 senators but is still in committee.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the bill also requires federal regulators to issue guidance to financial institutions regarding hemp and CBD.
“Allowing lawful cannabis companies to access commercial banking services and end their reliance on cash will greatly improve public safety, increase transparency, and promote regulatory compliance,” Neal Levine, chief executive officer of the Cannabis Trade Federation, told U.S. News & World Report.