HomeNewsUS Cannabis Banking Bill Dead. Again. For Now.

US Cannabis Banking Bill Dead. Again. For Now.

It was widely expected a bill making it easier for hemp and marijuana companies to access financial services would get a green light in Congress this week. It didn’t happen.

Under current federal law, financial institutions providing banking services to legitimate cannabis businesses risk prosecution from the feds, even if these financial services are totally legal at a state level. While many banks would be happy to provide such services, it’s the federal threat that stops them from doing so.

Aside from the inconvenience and impeding business development, it’s a major security issue for the cannabis industry. The USA’s legal cannabis market is already worth billions, and much of this is unbanked. This creates safety risks for business owners and increased costs relating to security services such as on-site guards and safes. It’s not uncommon for legal cannabis businesses to be robbed as it’s common knowledge many store owners keep  funds on site.

The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act was to address the situation by preventing federal regulators from taking punitive measures against banks providing services to legitimate cannabis-related businesses, and those that serve them.

The SAFE Banking Act has been passed multiple times in the house; most recently in June 2022. The Act was expected to be a part of an omnibus spending package. But Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, didn’t call it to a vote in the Senate.

While it seems Schumer had hoped for its inclusion, he faced headwinds from Republicans including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. But he’s not giving up.

“It is bipartisan. It has the support of many different groups. We’re going to go back at it next year,” said Mr. Schumer.

But next year, Republicans will hold the majority in the chamber.

Commenting on the failure of the bill, Curaleaf co-founder Boris Jordan said that the legislation not being included in this omnibus was incredibly disappointing.

“This is a failure by our government; they are clearly not listening to the voices of constituents, who are wildly in favor of cannabis legislative reform now.”

Many cannabis stocks plummeted on the news, although there was some recovery the following day.

Steven Gothrinet
Steven Gothrinet has been part of the Hemp Gazette in-house reporting team since 2015. Steven's broad interest in cannabis was initially fueled by the realisation of industrial hemp's versatility across multiple sectors. You can contact Steve here.

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