House Greenlights a Marijuana Business Banking Bill: The SAFE Banking Act of 2021

On Monday, the House of Representatives passed the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2021, legislation which would give state-sanctioned marijuana businesses access to traditional financial services. According to co-sponsor Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s (D-Colo.) press release, the proposed law passed with tremendous bi-partisan support by a vote of 321 to 101, including 106 Republicans.

The SAFE Banking Act partly addresses what the press release deemed public safety concerns. It explained that because legal marijuana businesses are forced to operate in cash, they are frequently targeted for robberies.

The press release pointed to a shooting that occurred last week during which an innocent bystander was shot as gunmen held up a medical marijuana dispensary in Colorado. The event reportedly followed two fatal shootings that occurred in Portland, Oregon, last December.

If the bill gains Senate approval and final sign-off by President Biden, businesses within 47 states, four territories, and the District of Columbia, where the drug has been legalized, will be granted access to services like checking and payroll accounts and lines of credit. The press release also noted that this is the second time the House of Representatives has passed the bill after failing the Senate in 2019.

Marijuana Business Daily reported that the bill stagnated in the then-Republican controlled Senate. Consequently, Jeff Smith wrote in Monday’s article, the bill needed to be restarted in a fresh legislative cycle.

Marijuana Business Daily further explained that it is uncertain when the Senate will consider the bill and whether the legislators will pass it. Reportedly, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is co-creating a “comprehensive marijuana reform bill” with Democratic colleagues from New Jersey and Oregon. If Sen. Schumer decides to push his bill forward, the SAFE Banking Act could take a back seat.