US Congress: With 152, Marijuana Banking Act Has More Sponsors Than Any Marijuana Bill Ever

Bicameral and bipartisan legislation to allow marijuana banking now has over 150 sponsors, well more than any other marijuana-related bill filed in the US Congress.

In the United States House of Representatives, the SAFE Banking Act has 116 sponsors, 106 more than when it was filed in April, 2023. In the Senate, the Safer Banking Act – filed in September – has 36 sponsors, including having support of both Democrats, Republicans and all three independent senators.

The combined 152 sponsors is more than any other marijuana-related bill filed in either the House or Senate.

Although the SAFE Banking Act has not yet received committee consideration in the House, the SAFER Banking Act was approved in September by the Senate Banking Committee, with Senate Leader Chuck Schumer vowing recently to give the measure a full Senate vote in the “weeks and months ahead”.

Both measures aim to enhance safety within the legal marijuana industry by reducing the public safety risks associated with businesses that operate entirely in cash. Under current law marijuana businesses are largely unable to access banking services due to federal restrictions, making them targets for theft and violent crime. The legislation would provide protections for banks and financial institutions that choose to serve these businesses, ensuring they are not penalized by federal regulators. This includes preventing the termination of a bank’s FDIC insurance or facing penalties solely because they provide services to a cannabis-related business.

Additionally, the legislation would update IRS regulations concerning tax deductions. Currently, under IRS Code Section 280E, businesses engaging in the sale of controlled substances prohibited by federal law are not allowed to deduct otherwise ordinary business expenses from their gross income. The SAFE and SAFER Banking Acts would modify these regulations, allowing cannabis businesses to take deductions similar to other legal businesses, which would significantly reduce their tax burdens and promote their financial viability.

According to polling released earlier this week, “by a greater than a 3-to-1 margin (63% support vs. 17% oppose) U.S. adults support Congress passing legislation that allows cannabis businesses to access banking services and financial products like checking accounts and business loans in states where cannabis is now legal”.

The only other marijuana-related bill currently active in the US Congress that has even close to 100 sponsors is the MORE Act to fully deschedule marijuana. That measure has 87 sponsors.

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