Cannabis SAFE Banking Measure Included in US Defense Bill

2.4 min readPublished On: September 24th, 2021By

WASHINGTON, D.C.–The U.S. House of Representatives passed, by voice vote, an amendment Tuesday adding the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Senate started work on a stand-alone version of the SAFE Banking Act in May. The measure passed the House in April after lawmakers reintroduced it in March.

Cannabis rallied Wednesday after the House voted to include an amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act protecting banks that service state-legal cannabis businesses from penalties.

The amendment prevents federal banking regulators from penalizing banks that work with cannabis businesses legalized by the state

Cannabis’s Schedule 1 status has limited the industry’s ability to access traditional banking. This has forced many to deal primarily in cash and making them targets of theft, assaults and robberies, cannabis advocates argue.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO)

The measure, which protects banks that service state-legal cannabis businesses from federal regulators’ penalties, has been introduced annually in Congress since 2013 by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and has passed the House five times, reported the congressman in tweets on Tuesday:

”#SAFEBanking will strengthen the security of our financial system & keep bad actors like cartels out. Most importantly, it will reduce the risk of violent crime in our communities. It’s passed the House 5 times. We cannot wait any longer to address this public safety threat.”

“This will strengthen the security of our financial system in our country by keeping bad actors like foreign cartels out of the cannabis industry. But most importantly, this amendment will reduce the risk of violent crime in our communities,” Perlmutter said Tuesday on the House floor ahead of the vote, according to Marijuana Moment.

“This is a public safety and a national security matter.”

“Discussions with our D.C. contacts suggest it has an easier pathway of getting through the Senate, largely because no senator wants to be viewed as holding up the massive 1,700 page must-pass NDAA simply because of SAFE banking,” BTIG analyst Camilo Lyon wrote in a research note, according to Bloomberg.

The SAFE Banking Act passed the House in 2019, only to get bogged down in the then-Republican-controlled Senate after the chamber’s former Banking Committee chairman, Mike Crapo, R-ID, refused to hold a vote on the bill.

The SAFE Banking Act had taken a backseat for some Senate Democrats, who have been pushing for more comprehensive reform.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, unveiled draft legislation in July that would remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances and expunge federal nonviolent cannabis crimes.

That measure, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA) — if passed first — would essentially do the job of SAFE Banking Act rendering SAFE unnecessary.

Newsteam Author: Mark Collins © Highly Capitalized 2021. All Rights Reserved.

About the Author: News Team

Newsteam at Highly Capitalized are some of the most experienced writers in cannabis and psychedelics business & finance. We cover capital markets, finance, branding, marketing and everything important in between. Most of all, we follow the money.

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