On September 27, The SAFER Banking Act passed the Senate Banking Committee with a bipartisan vote of 14-9. The successful vote marks the first time a version of the cannabis banking legislation has passed a Senate Committee since it was first introduced in Congress all the way back in 2013. The bill will now be brought to the Senate floor for a full vote. While different versions of the Act have passed the House seven times over the years, no cannabis banking bill has ever made it out of a Senate Committee to the floor for a vote.
The historic progress on the SAFER Banking Act brings reinvigorated support as well as renewed opposition to the bill. Senate Majority Leader Schumer has commended the bipartisan support of the revised bill and has stated he will bring the bill to the Senate Floor for a full vote “soon.” Opponents of the bill have expressed concerns that too much importance is being placed on cannabis-related laws as opposed to other controlled substance-related legislation, such as those related to fentanyl enforcement, while others critics of the bill do not believe the bill goes far enough to protect and assist those most affected by the failed war on drugs.
The Act appears poised to have its best shot to pass Congress, but until it’s called to a vote and the bill makes its way through the House, proponents and opponents alike must wait and see whether the government can institute comprehensive banking laws in the legal cannabis industry.