FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Contact: Violet Cavendish
Lawmakers voted 321-103 in favor of cannabis banking legislation
WASHINGTON D.C. — Today, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595) in a floor vote of 321-103. This legislation would prevent federal financial regulators from punishing financial institutions that provide services to state-legal cannabis businesses. Currently, most banks are unwilling to work with the cannabis industry because they fear federal prosecution.
The SAFE Banking Act is the first standalone cannabis bill to receive a full vote in the House.
A version of this legislation has been introduced in the Senate (S. 1200) and currently has 33 cosponsors.
Statement from Steve Hawkins, executive director at the Marijuana Policy Project:
“We applaud House lawmakers for voting in favor of the SAFE Banking Act. The cannabis industry can no longer proceed without the same access to financial services that other legal companies are granted. This decision is an indication that Congress is more willing than ever to support and take action on sensible cannabis policies. The passage of the SAFE Banking Act improves the likelihood that other cannabis legislation will advance at the federal level.
“It is important to recognize that the SAFE Banking Act, if passed by the Senate and signed into law by the President, would strengthen efforts to increase the diversity of the cannabis industry. Many states that have legalized cannabis for adults have launched efforts to ensure that there are economic opportunities for communities of color that have been most severely impacted by marijuana prohibition. Access to capital remains an obstacle to this goal, and the SAFE Banking Act would help to address this problem.”
Statement from Don Murphy, director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project:
“Passing the SAFE Banking Act is a significant win and a critical step forward for cannabis policy reform. It is clear that lawmakers understand the public health and public safety benefits of allowing cannabis businesses to access financial services. Access to banking would allow for broader patient access, help with business transparency and compliance, and reduce safety risks associated with cash-only operations.”
Founded in 1995, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is the nation’s leading cannabis policy reform organization. MPP has played a central role in passing dozens of cannabis policy reforms in states across the country, including 10 successful cannabis legalization campaigns, and also works to advance federal reforms.