U.S. House passes marijuana banking bill

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill aiming to end the cash-based economy of legal cannabis businesses by making banking services available.

The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act passed in the House on Wednesday with a total of 321 votes.

Prior to this, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) said these businesses have been largely denied banking due to fear of prosecution. Merkley said it is creating a safety risk for businesses and surrounding communities.

“It essentially addresses the challenge of billions of dollars of cash running around the country,” Merkley said. “The inability to use electronic banking results in cash transactions, susceptible to money laundering to theft to cheating on your taxes to cheating on your employees.”

The intention behind the law is to prevent banking regulators from prohibiting or discouraging banks from providing services to legitimate cannabis business.

The new legislation also creates a safe harbor from criminal prosecution and liability for banks and their officers.