WASHINGTON, DC – Tonight, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) applauded the House passage of H.R. 1996, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2021. This bipartisan bill, of which Joyce is an original cosponsor, would prohibit federal regulators from taking punitive measures against institutions that provide banking services to legitimate cannabis companies and unrelated businesses that serve them. The SAFE Banking Act of 2021 passed by a bipartisan vote of 321 to 101.
“Despite the fact that the American people across a majority of states, both red and blue, have voted to enact sensible cannabis reforms, the federal government continues to interfere in this arena which has denied state-legal cannabis companies the same access to financial services as every other legal business in our country,” said Joyce. “With banks refusing to accept their money out of fear of federal forfeiture or regulatory retaliation, these businesses are forced to operate in all cash, which causes a serious public safety issue.”
“But it’s not just cannabis companies that are paying the price for this antiquated policy. Small businesses that provide services to state-legal cannabis companies can be targeted by the federal government, such as plumbers, electricians or even soil and fertilizer businesses. At a time where small businesses are just beginning to recover from the economic destruction caused by COVID-19, the federal government should be supporting them, not standing in their way.”
“I applaud the House for passing the SAFE Banking Act and look forward to my colleagues in the Senate taking action so that we can get this bill signed into law. The federal government can no longer afford to fail on an issue that our states have taken the lead on.”
Specifically, the SAFE Banking Act would establish a safe harbor for any depository institution that chooses to provide banking services to cannabis-related legitimate businesses that hold and maintain a license from a state or local government to engage in manufacturing, growing, or producing, as well as any business who handles, sells, transports, displays or distributes cannabis or cannabis products.
You can watch Joyce speak on the House floor about this important bill here.
A Co-Chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, Joyce has worked to reform the federal government’s outdated policies on cannabis and protect the rights of states across the country, like Ohio, that have voted to implement responsible, common-sense cannabis policies. He continues to work on both sides of the aisle, especially with his fellow Republicans, to build a bipartisan consensus on an effective federal regulatory framework that recognizes that continued cannabis prohibition is neither tenable nor the will of the American electorate.