Dec 7, 2021
National Defense Bill Moves Forward Without SAFE Banking Provision

The U.S. House Rules Committee recently held a hearing on Dec. 7 where the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was not amended to include the SAFE Banking Act. U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) released the following statement today after the hearing.

“As has been the case with cannabis reforms nationally, progress takes time but the will of the people will prevail. I thank my colleagues in the Rules Committee for their support and commitment today to pass this legislation. Including the SAFE Banking Act in the NDAA process resulted in increased awareness and attention to this important problem. That said, people are still getting killed and businesses are still getting robbed because of a lack of action from the Senate. The SAFE Banking Act has been sitting in the Senate for three years and with every passing day their unwillingness to deal with the issue endangers and harms businesses, their employees, and communities across the country.

“My work on this bill is far from over. As Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Schumer are aware, going forward, I plan to pursue every possible avenue to get SAFE Banking signed into law.”

The U.S. Cannabis Council shared in Rep. Perlmutter’s disappointment.

“We are disappointed that cannabis reform was among a number of important provisions in the House-approved National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that were not included in the latest version of the bill,” said Steven Hawkins, CEO of US Cannabis Council. “However, we are heartened by the broad, bipartisan support for the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act and remain committed to advancing the legislation in this Congress.

“We see the consequences every day of the lack of banking access, from the rash of dispensary robberies to the ongoing challenges of minority and small business owners to secure capital. The SAFE Banking Act would provide urgently needed relief to cannabis businesses of all sizes and put wind in the sails of the broader push to end federal cannabis prohibition.

“We are grateful to the sponsors of the SAFE Banking Act, as well as those who reached out to Congress to support it, including governors, business leaders and advocates across the country. We fully support Rep. Perlmutter’s efforts to add SAFE Banking back to the NDAA in the Rules Committee and urge lawmakers to take every effort to pass this important measure.”

The U.S. Hemp Roundtable also issued a statement in support of Rep. Perlmutter’s efforts.

“While we are deeply disappointed SAFE Banking legislation has (yet again) been stalled, we fully support and stand by Rep. Perlmutter and will continue to work closely alongside him to ensure passage of this critical cannabis industry legislation,” a U.S. Hemp Roundtable enewsletter reads. “Without access to financial services, legally operating cannabis businesses will continue to be forced to deal with large amounts of cash which can lead to financial confusion or criminal activity.”

In a blog, NORML shared its thoughts on the National Defense Bill being the accurate vehicle for the SAFE Banking Act.

“It is unfortunate that Congress failed to take this opportunity to affirm the legitimacy of state-legal marijuana markets and instead acted in a way that will continue to deny this emerging legal industry access to basic financial tools and services,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “Until Congressional action is taken, state-licensed marijuana businesses and those millions of Americans that patronize them will continue to be at a higher risk of robbery due to the all-cash nature of this industry. Furthermore, smaller entrepreneurs who seek to enter this industry will continue to struggle to compete against larger, more well-established and well-capitalized interests.”

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