SAFE Banking Passes
SAFE Banking Passes The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, sponsored by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), currently has 206 cosponsors, including 26 Republicans. It would shield banks that take on marijuana business clients from being penalized by federal regulators. Perlmutter moved to add amendments to the legislation last week—clarifying that the protections extend to hemp and CBD businesses and prohibiting regulators from targeting certain industries such as firearms dealers as a higher risk for fraud—in order to bolster its GOP appeal. The SAFE Banking Act is the first piece of standalone cannabis reform legislation to get a House floor vote. Advocates and lawmakers have emphasized that this bill represents the first in a series of reform moves Congress will take, with the ultimate goal being to end federal marijuana prohibition.
“I support legislation that de-schedules marijuana federally, requires courts to expunge convictions for marijuana-related offenses, and provides assistance such as job training and reentry services for those who have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs,” she said.
The comments come after several advocacy groups including the ACLU, Drug Policy Alliance, and Human Rights Watch sent a letter to House leadership urging a delay on the banking vote until broader reform passed.
The second-highest-ranking Democratic in the House said on Wednesday that the House should take up comprehensive marijuana legalization legislation after the passage of a bipartisan cannabis banking bill. Hours before the House voted in favor of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act by a significant margin, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) released a statement saying that while he is “proud” to have put the bill on the floor, “I believe it does not go far enough.”
“This must be a first step toward the decriminalization and de-scheduling of marijuana, which has led to the prosecution and incarceration of far too many of our fellow Americans for possession,” he said, adding that a number of legalization bills have been introduced that could be advanced.
Waters said “I have long fought for criminal justice reform and deeply understand the need to fully address the historical racial and social inequities related to the criminalization of marijuana.