• Ted Ohashi

SAFE Banking Act to receive House floor vote in September 2019

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) confirmed to Marijuana Moment that the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act will receive a House floor vote in September 2019.

I have commented on the SAFE Banking Act several times in the past most recently on May 24, 2019 when it received a favourable score from the Congressional Budget Office. I have long felt this was a piece of pro-cannabis legislation with one of the best chances of passing at this time on a bipartisan basis.

One important fallout of the U.S. Federal government maintaining marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug is it classified as illegal according to federal law. As the banking industry is also federally regulated, it means banks will not deal with cannabis companies. As a result, cannabis in the U.S. is a cash business and some companies are forced to handle tens of millions of dollars in cash and use cash to pay their bills including taxes. The SAFE Banking Act will protect banks from negative repercussions resulting from dealing with cannabis companies.

One school of thought has the bill being voted on under “suspension of rules” which is a procedure used to pass non-controversial legislation. The bill will need two-thirds or 290 members voting in favour to pass. The SAFE Banking Act has 206 co-sponsors made up of 180 Democrats and 26 Republicans. So another 84 votes are needed to pass but sponsors generally don’t bring bills to a vote unless they are confident it will pass. The SAFE Banking Act must then pass the Senate.

A date has not been set but a successful vote later this month could trigger the introduction and passage of many pro-cannabis pieces of legislation such as de-scheduling marijuana or passage of a similar bill to cover hemp producers. But make no mistake, passage of the SAFE Banking Act will be a major milestone in the U.S. cannabis business and will probably rekindle tremendous investor interest in the group. 1933 Industries (CSE: TGIF) (OTCQX: TGIFF) is a company that will likely experience an immediate benefit if the bill becomes law and Sunniva Inc. (CSE: SNN, OTCQB:SNNVF) will see a growing benefit over the next twelve months.

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