Senate rejects SAFE Act for sixth time

Through Nina Zdinjak

The marijuana banking legislation will not be included in the final version of the United States’ Innovation and Competition Act (a/k/a The America COMPETES Act), bipartisan members of Congress concluded, Punchbowl News first reported Thursday.

Although the U.S. House of Representatives officially annexed the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act in February as an amendment to large-scale innovation and manufacturing legislation, the final version of the Senate legislation did not include this provision.

Photo by Yarygin/Getty Images

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Many industry experts believed that the SAFE Banking Act, which aims to protect financial institutions looking to provide their services to federally legal marijuana businesses, had a better chance of passing the Senate than the MORE Act, which delisted cannabis of controlled substances and would allow states to legalize its production and sale free of federal interference. However, the Senate rejected the measure for the sixth time.

Previously, the House of Representatives passed the cannabis banking measure about six times, either as an amendment or as stand-alone legislation. The last time the legislation went to the Senate as a standalone measure was in April 2021 by a vote of 321 to 101.

The House of Representatives approved the wording of the SAFE Banking Act 2019 for the first time as a standalone cannabis policy reform bill, only to receive two more approvals under pandemic relief packages. The bill was rejected by the Senate.

Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), who sponsored the legislation, commented on the amendment’s recent exclusion. “The Senate continues to ignore the risk to public safety of forcing cannabis companies to deal in cash only,” he told Marijuana Moment. β€œIn the wake of Senate inaction, people continue to be killed, businesses continue to be robbed, and employees and business owners in the cannabis industry continue to be locked out of the financial system.”

How the cannabis banking bill fares in the Senate will determine the future of national marijuana reformPhoto by krisanapong detraphiphat/Getty Images

RELATED: Why Chuck Schumer might trade in cannabis banking sooner rather than later

Perlmutter added, β€œI will continue to push for SAFE banking to be included in COMPETES, other legislative instruments, or for the Senate to finally take up the standalone version of the bill that has been sitting in the Senate for three and a half years. ”

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been republished with permission.

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