On Monday, House Representatives approved the marijuana banking bill through a firm bipartisan 321-101 ‘pass’ vote. The legislation is the first main form of cannabis legislation approved by the new Congress.
The reform was outstandingly supposed early yesterday in the voice note. However, an official roll call was ordered and carried out yesterday evening.
Over half of the republicans supported the reform, and all Democrats voted to approve the legislation.
The ballot vote was scheduled to be conducted on the eve of 4/20 cannabis celebration time.
The reform has to be approved by the Senate and ascended into law by the United States president, Joe Biden.
The legislation, dubbed as the SAFE (Secure and Fair Enforcement) Banking Act, could allow credit unions and banks to serve federally legal cannabis enterprises without being liable to state penalties.
Currently, the banking sector has been highly reluctant to service clients from the marijuana space due to marijuana’ classification as a Schedule substance.
The banking reform provides protections by preventing state banking regulators from:
- Limiting or terminating deposit insurance cover for firms offering banking services to a marijuana-related legal enterprise or service provider.
- Penalizing, prohibiting or discouraging a financial institution from offering banking services to a marijuana-related business or service provider.
- Encouraging, recommending or incentivizing a financial intuition not to provide, cancel or downgrade banking services solely due to marijuana-based genuine business.
- Taking serious action on loans issued to a cannabis-related legal business or its operator, employee, or owner.
The possibility of the Senate approval is higher than that in the preceding years after Democrats acquired more power of both chambers during the recent election.
The House approved a similar marijuana banking bill through a 321-103 bipartisan ballot vote during 2019’s fall in the past legislative circle.
Since Republicans controlled the Senate at that instance, the reform failed to ascend. The measure had to begin again in the two-year, new legislative phase that started early this year.
Federally legal cannabis businesses have attempted several years to acquire access to conventional financial amenities, such as payroll accounts, credit lines and checking accounts.
This has hindered their capacity to acquire working capital for their activities. It has also pushed several cannabis ventures to operate under a cash-only program, creating a public safety risk for customers and companies in the multi-billion dollar sector.
Industry experts say that such details make the marijuana banking reform essential.
On Monday, Steve Hawkins (Marijuana Policy Project’s executive director based in Washington DC) said that winning a cannabis license is just half the fight.
He said the SAFE Banking Act would avail banking services that particularly merit small-scale cannabis business operators and social equity ventures.
Other people also applauded the bipartisan ballot vote.
David Mangone, principal of the DC-based Liaison Group, stated that members from each aisle side see the SAFE Banking Act as a primary sound reform for economic opportunity, job growth, public safety and equity. Liaison Group lobbies Congress on cannabis reform for the National Marijuana Roundtable.
Some leaders in the marijuana industry consider the marijuana financing bill as the most likely legislation to be adopted this year, given the reform’s bipartisan support.
Oregon’s Democrat( Representative Earl Blumenauer) said that as the country pushes toward full authorisation, tackling this unfair, unsafe and unreasonable ban on financial services to federally legal marijuana business is a significant concern.
Earl pointed out that this is a crucial aspect of the legislation that requires immediate action, and he urged marijuana sponsors within the senate to ascend this reform as soon as they can.
What to Expect
The senate consideration’s timing is uncertain.
Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York and Senate Majority Leader, is drafting a comprehensive cannabis policy change with his Democratic mates Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon and Booker Cory from New Jersey.
Although the Senate Majority leader’s initiative is considered less likely than the SAFE Banking Act to be approved by the Senate this year, he could advocate its consideration before a marijuana banking reform.
President Joe’s stance on cannabis legalisation reform is uncertain, and Democrats stopped advocating for cannabis to be deleted from the state CSA( Controlled Substances Act).
Chuck has promised that the Democratic Party would go ahead with the comprehensive cannabis reform irrespective of Joe’s opinion.
Late last year, the House approved a historical initiative to authorise cannabis federally, but since the Senate failed to ascend it, that measure has to start over.
A recent survey shows that about 7 in ten United States citizens support cannabis authorisation. Despite the overwhelming public support for legalisation, some opposition was yesterday on the chamber floor.
Representative Bob Good a Virginia Republican) opposed cannabis authorisation in short comments during the onset of the legislative session.
He mentioned the risks to youths and added that America doesn’t have to assist enterprises to thrive in marijuana sales.
Bob said that he doesn’t care about what the ex house speaker ( John Boehner) or lobbyists are saying.
John Boehner has been an avid supporter of state cannabis reform after his tenure.