The House of Representatives advanced this week the SAFE Banking Act of 2021.
The measure, authored by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and sponsored by Reps. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Steve Stivers (R-OH), and Warren Davidson (R-OH), in addition to being co-sponsored by 180 members, would allow marijuana-related businesses within states with some form of legalized marijuana and strict regulatory structures to access the banking system.
The lawmakers acknowledged while 47 states, four U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia representing 97.7 percent of the nation’s population have legalized some form of recreational or medical marijuana, the law presently restricts legitimate licensed marijuana businesses from accessing banking services and products – including depository and checking accounts, resulting in businesses operating in all cash.
Officials said the circumstance has resulted in public safety risks for communities – yielding theft, robberies, and burglaries.
“After years of bringing up this issue, I’m thrilled to see overwhelming support for this bipartisan, common-sense legislation in the U.S. House once again,” Perlmutter said. “I feel optimistic about the path forward for the SAFE Banking Act and, more broadly, reforms to our federal cannabis laws. Congress needs to act in order to catch up with the will of the majority of voters across this county and to ensure we are reducing the public safety risk for our constituents and communities.”
Velázquez said the bill would allow businesses in states that have legalized cannabis to have access to the banking system, just as any other business currently enjoys, noting doing so would help create jobs in communities nationwide while stimulating the economy amid the pandemic recovery.