International Cannabis Business Conference

SAFE Banking Act Passes in Historic House Vote, 321-103

Image courtesy of plantsbeforepills.com

History was made in the House of Representatives today when an overwhelming majority voted to pass the SAFE Banking Act.

Here's the final vote:

                         Yea           Nay .       Did Not Vote

Democrats         229             1             5

Republicans        91           102            5

Independents        1

Totals                 321          103           10

The passage of H.R. 1595 is historic because no other marijuana-related bill has been passed by Congress, much less been voted on.

The SAFE Banking Act will allow the cannabis industry to have access to banking services and financial institutions. 

NORML supports the legislation, stating: "Currently, hundreds of licensed and regulated businesses do not have access to the banking industry and are unable to accept credit cards, deposit revenues or write checks to meet payroll or pay taxes. This situation is untenable. No industry can operate safely, transparently or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions. Congress must move to change federal policy so that these growing number of state-compliant businesses, and their consumers, may operate in a manner that is similar to other legal commercial entities."

"The passage of the SAFE Banking Act improves the likelihood that other cannabis legislation will advance at the federal level."

On March 7, the bill was introduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO). On March 28, the House Financial Services Committee voted 45-15 that it be voted on by the full body. By the time of today's floor vote it had 206 sponsors. It needed to be passed by two-thirds of the House.

It now moves to the Senate, where S. 1200 has 33 sponsors.

One of the bill's sponsors, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, stated after the vote:

“Today’s vote is historic. The House of Representatives took the most significant step thus far in addressing our outdated and out-of-touch federal cannabis laws. It never made any sense to deny state legal cannabis businesses access to banking services. It not only seriously disadvantaged these businesses, but it also was an open invitation to theft, tax evasion and money laundering. Congressmen Perlmutter and (Denny) Heck have fought tirelessly to bring their bill to the floor and I applaud Chairwoman (Maxine) Waters and House leadership for their support. States have outpaced the federal government on this issue and state-legal cannabis industries and their employees have suffered. There is much more to be done to end this senseless prohibition. This is just the beginning.”

"There is much more to be done to end this senseless prohibition. This is just the beginning.”

Marijuana Policy Project executive director Steve Hawkins added:

“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.” 

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.