On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives formally added a cannabis banking reform amendment to a larger innovation bill. For several years, American cannabis companies have sought protection from financial institutions that still do not accept cannabis money in the states, given its illegality at the federal level.
Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter’s amendment was approved on a preliminary basis with other amendments on Wednesday, but a roll call has been requested. The chamber took up that package on Thursday and passed it by a vote of 262 to 168.
There was no in-session debate on the cannabis provision itself, which shows how relatively uncontroversial the bipartisan-backed reform is in the House. The Senate has always refused to move forward on the issue.
The next deadline is now to see if the entire America COMPETES Act, which contains the banking amendment Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE), will be formally passed by the House today.
The politicians behind the law have been pushing for a long time to pass this SAFE banking law, which is a fortiori a modest step towards the reform of federal cannabis laws.
Earl Perlmutter had previously tried to push through this policy change as part of a full-scale defense bill, but the text was deleted following bicameral negotiations.
NEW: #SAFEBanking has been formally added to #AmericaCOMPETES. I appreciate the bipartisan support from my colleagues and look forward to the final vote on the package tomorrow.
— Rep. Ed Perlmutter (@RepPerlmutter) February 3, 2022
The congressman laid much of the blame on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who insists on pushing forward comprehensive legalization legislation, like the bill he is finalizing, before moving forward the banking bill.