US House Bill to Allow Nationwide Marijuana Banking Garners 123rd Bipartisan Sponsor

Federal legislation that would explicitly allow banks to work with licensed marijuana businesses has garnered its 123rd bipartisan sponsor in the US House of Representatives.

The SAFE Banking Act (H.R. 2891) now has 123 sponsors, with Congressmember Dan Goldman (D-NY) becoming the latest to join as a cosponsor yesterday. The proposed law would provide federal protections for banks and credit unions that offer financial services to marijuana businesses legal under state laws. This would cover medical marijuana dispensaries in the 38 states where they are legal, as well as recreational marijuana stores in the 23 states where they are allowed.

Additionally, the legislation would allow state-legal marijuana businesses to take standard IRS tax deductions, which is currently prohibited.

In September, a Senate version of the bill, titled the SAFER Banking Act, was approved by the Senate Banking Committee with bipartisan support. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promised earlier this year to put the measure to a vote in the full chamber in the “weeks and months ahead.”

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

On May 21, the DEA officially published in the Federal Register its proposed rules to move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III. Although some argue this change would allow banks to provide services to medical marijuana dispensaries, it is not expected to impact the recreational marijuana industry as the SAFE and SAFER Banking Acts would.

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