We have big news to share: Just now, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the SAFE Banking Act (H.R. 1595) in a 321-103 floor vote! Today’s vote was historic, as the SAFE Banking Act is the first standalone cannabis bill to ever receive a full vote in Congress.
This legislation would prevent federal financial regulators from punishing financial institutions that provide services to state-legal cannabis businesses. Currently, most banks are unwilling to work with the cannabis industry because they fear federal prosecution. A version of this legislation has been introduced in the Senate (S. 1200) and currently has 33 cosponsors.
As more states implement and expand cannabis-related programs, Congressional action is urgently needed to provide clear banking policies, which would reduce the illicit market, promote public health and safety, increase consumer safety standards, ensure broader patient access, help with business transparency and compliance, and reduce safety risks associated with running high-volume, cash-only businesses.
It is also 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.
MPP is proud to support this legislation, and we’d like to thank all of our allies who worked so hard to get this bill to a House floor vote. We’d also like to thank you, our supporters, for reaching out to your representatives on behalf of the SAFE Banking Act.
Onward to the Senate!
The U.S. House of Representatives voted yesterday to prevent the federal government from interfering with state laws regulating marijuana for all purposes, including adult use.
"Today's vote is the most significant step Congress has ever taken toward ending federal marijuana prohibition."
- Steven Hawkins, MPP Executive Director
Yesterday in the U.S. House of Representatives, an extraordinary milestone was achieved when the body approved a measure by a 267-165 vote to prevent the Department of Justice from using funds to interfere with the implementation of state laws that have legalized marijuana for adults. Since 2014, Congress has renewed a provision that prevented federal interference in states' medical marijuana programs, but this goes further and includes adult-use legalization, too.
The significance of this development cannot be overstated. As MPP Executive Director Steve Hawkins put it this vote means "Congress is recognizing that the federal government must let the states decide on cannabis legalization — and not the other way around." But this win was only made possible with your support.
Please help MPP continue to achieve victories like this by making a contribution to the effort today.
The bipartisan amendment, offered by Reps. Tom McClintock (R-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) to the House version of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, prohibits the Justice Department, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, from using funds to interfere in the implementation of state laws that allow the use, possession, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana. The measure is broader than previous amendments, which applied only to medical marijuana laws.
We should all take a moment to savor this seminal achievement and to appreciate how far we've come as a movement. But we can't afford to rest on our laurels, to count on momentum alone to drive future progress, or to assume others will step up to support ending marijuana prohibition nationwide.
Your gift of support today is critical to ensure that MPP has the resources it needs to keep on fighting and winning. Click here to donate now.
The Senate is expected to take up companion legislation in the coming weeks, and it's going to take all the efforts of MPP's policy experts, allies, and coalition partners to push this bill forward. Most importantly, strong and active support from people like you, who know firsthand the injustice and illogic of marijuana prohibition, will be key to moving this legislation across the finish line.
Thank you for all you've done to help us get this far. The MPP mission to end marijuana prohibition has never been so close to being realized, and with your support, we will make that vision a reality.
Today, 33 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws allowing for either medical or adult-use cannabis. An additional 14 states allow for limited medical use. But under current law, financial institutions providing banking services to legitimate and licensed cannabis businesses under state laws are subject to criminal prosecution under several federal statutes, such as "aiding and abetting" a federal crime and money laundering.
In March, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) introduced the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (HR 1595) to address this discord between state and federal policy. This bipartisan legislation recently hit 200 cosponsors in the House, and a House floor vote is expected soon.
Please email your U.S. Representative to urge them to support the SAFE Banking Act! If your rep is already a cosponsor, you can thank them for their leadership on the issue.
This legislation would prevent federal regulators from punishing financial institutions for providing services to cannabis-related businesses operating in compliance with state laws. While some cannabis businesses have been able to find banking services, most banks are unwilling to work with them because they fear federal prosecution. As a result, many cannabis businesses are forced to operate entirely in cash.
Solving the banking issue would promote public health and safety, as access to banking would ensure broader patient access, help with business transparency and compliance, and reduce safety risks associated with running high-volume, cash-only businesses. In addition, the legislation would make it easier for financial institutions to provide loans to cannabis-related businesses, allowing those with the least access to capital — often minorities — to participate in the new legal cannabis industry.
Please contact your U.S. Representative in support of this bill TODAY, then share this link with friends and family who support sensible cannabis policies so they can do the same.