A bipartisan bill which was drafted in the interest of protecting banks that finance the marijuana industry from legal actions and penalties by federal regulators, will be put to vote in an important congressional committee this week.
Conferred in the first cannabis-related hearing of 116th congress in the last month, the regulation will be subjected to the likes of House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, the 26th of March.
Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act formulated last month has Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Denny Heck (D-WA), Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Warren Davidson (R-OH) acting as its chief sponsors. Presently, the act almost has more than a quarter of the house as its cosponsors, which is around 138.
Stating in an email, Perlmutter remarks that the Congress has repeatedly failed in the last six years to tackle the issue surrounding cannabis banking, which has led to thousands of people involving the personnel, businesses and communities to be at jeopardy.
But now the issue has been rightly brought up front and has been gaining quite the attention with the first congressional hearing and its subsequent vote before the committee.
There has been support for the legislation from many members. The chairperson of the committee Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who is also one of the co-sponsors, has already brought attention to the banking issue even before taking up the position.
Voicing their support, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-MA) have also signed the legislation.
The above developments have, in fact, fueled a politically charged scenario. Until now, the leaders of the Republican party have constantly hindered any progress or consideration for marijuana-related bills in the Congress, which is to be changed now with the Democrats coming in control and spearheading lawmakers who have accepted the legislation. There is a high probability that the legislation will head to the full house and to the Senate.
Rectifying financial dealing with banks for cannabis companies has been one of the several goals raised by Rep. Earl Blumenauer who had included it in the draft addressed to his party leaders for ending marijuana prohibition by federal authorities.
Justin Strekal, political director for NORML referred in a statement that the banking subject was just one of the several failed aspects to originate from the criminalization of marijuana.
In order to bring the industry forward, Congress needs to step up and take action to revise this decree and whole other steps to oust the outdated and bigoted law practices. He declares that it wouldn’t be the last hearing that throws light on the criminalization of marijuana and expects a complete hearing on the prohibition of it in the coming months.
It is also to be noted that a new set of changes have been inducted in the Act since the last hearing in 115th Congress. For instance, the bill notifies that the act of protection not only limits to financial setups that deal with organizations that directly deal with cannabis products but also extends to financial ones that work with auxiliary cannabis business.
The legislation also clarifies that returns from a dealing conducted between a legal cannabis-related business will not be equated to that of returns from illegal activity or so, on the sole basis that the transaction was by a cannabis-related legal enterprise.
It also urges the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council to curtail a “uniform guidance and examination procedures for depository institutions that provide financial services to cannabis-related legitimate businesses.”
The banking issue had been long raised from the Congress members and cannabis enterprises for a while now. With the problem being addressed in the coming sessions, it is likely to get a suitable and stable stand.
In the meantime, the judiciary committee has been beckoned by Nadler to take up comprehensive legislation on Marijuana soon. Perlmutter remarks that the dithering of Congress after 97.7 percent of US population dwelling in a state where voters have sided with the legalization of recreational and limited medical use of marijuana seems no longer acceptable.
He is optimistic that the bipartisan bill which is coming with strong support in the house will move forward with the committee and finally to the Senate.