The SAFE Banking Act, which would normalize financial services for the cannabis industry federally, has been pulled from a bill aimed to increase competition with China, The Hill reports. The measure was included in House Democrats’ COMPETES Act but not the Senate’s bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act which passed last year.
In a statement, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), the bill’s prime sponsor, said the Senate’s inaction on the legislation – which has passed the House five times since 2019 – would continue to allow people to be killed and businesses to be robbed while excluding the cannabis industry from the financial system.
The measure was removed from the China competition bill at the behest of Republican lawmakers who argue that the bill doesn’t belong in the legislation, while Democrats want to pair the bill with social justice measures which can’t be done in committee, the report says.
In a statement, Steven Hawkins, president of the U.S. Cannabis Council, said there remains “support and political will … to get the SAFE Banking Act across the finish line.”
“We are encouraged by conversations about pairing the bill with other helpful cannabis and criminal justice reforms,” he said. “We look forward to working with our members and allies to help get the job done.”
During their most recent meeting, the U.S. Conference of Mayors endorsed a resolution calling for Congress to pass federal cannabis banking reforms. The resolution stated that “the conflict between state law and the illegality of cannabis under federal law creates significant challenges and barriers for legally-owned and operated recreational and medical cannabis dispensaries and cannabis-related companies.”