Federal Marijuana Banking Act Gains Three New Sponsors, Now Sponsored By 34% of Entire US Senate

The SAFER Banking Act is now sponsored by 34% of the entire United States Senate.

The SAFER Banking Act (S.2860) gained three new sponsors this week, joining the 31 already cosponsoring the bill. The new sponsors are Senators Alejandro Padilla (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Brian Schatz (D-HI). The primary sponsor of the legislation is Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

The proposed law, which recently passed the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with bipartisan support, would explicitly allow banks and other financial institutions to provide services to marijuana businesses that are legal under their state’s law. This would allow marijuana retail outlets to move from a dangerous cash only model to a model that allows them to accept debit and credit cards like any other business.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has vowed to put the measure to a vote of the full Senate “very soon”, and he says he will include provisions to allow for marijuana expungements to establish gun rights for medical marijuana patients.

The SAFER Banking Act has the support of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) which recently sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urging them to pass the bill into law. A bipartisan group of 22 attorneys general sent a similar letter to congressional leaders late last month.

recent report found that Bank of America, Mastercard and the NRA have reported lobbying disclosures for the third quarter of 2023 in favor of the SAFER Banking Act.

According to polling released last week, “by greater than a 2-to-1 margin (55% support vs 23% oppose) U.S. adults support Congress passing legislation that allows cannabis businesses to access banking services.”

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