US House Bill to Allow Marijuana Banking Garners Record-Setting 120 Sponsors

The SAFE Banking Act to allow marijuana banking nationwide has just garnered its 120th sponsor, more than any other marijuana-related bill in United States history.

Congressmember Jesús García (D-IL) joined a group of 119 other lawmakers yesterday in sponsoring the SAFE Banking Act. The legislation would offer federal protections for banks and credit unions that decide to provide financial services to marijuana businesses that are legal under their state’s law. This includes debit and credit card services —allowing marijuana stores to move away from a dangerous cash-only model— as well as access to business loans.

The SAFE Banking Act would also allow state-legal marijuana businesses to take standard IRS tax deductions, something that’s currently forbidden.

A Senate version of the measure —the SAFER Banking Act— currently has 36 sponsors and was been passed through the Senate Banking Committee in September.

Recent polling shows that 63% of U.S. adults favoring Congressional action to allow cannabis businesses access to essential financial services in states where cannabis is legally recognized, compared to 17% opposed.

Yesterday, the DEA officially published in the Federal Register its proposed rules that would move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III. Although some argue this would allow banks to provide services to medical marijuana dispensaries, it is not expected to have any impact on the recreational marijuana industry, as would be the case with the SAFE and SAFER Banking Acts.

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