SAFE Banking Bill Stripped From America COMPETES Act

The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act – which would allow more banking institutions to provide services to state-licensed marijuana-related businesses – has been cut out of the Senate’s final version of the America COMPETES Act.

SAFE Act sponsor Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) revealed Thursday that the banking reform measure had been stripped from the omnibus package by a conference committee.

On Twitter, Perlmutter wrote that “the Senate continues to ignore the public safety risk of forcing cannabis businesses to deal in all cash. In the wake of the Senate’s inaction, people continue to be killed and businesses continue to be robbed.”

Perlmutter added that he would continue to push the Senate to take up SAFE, which has been in limbo for three and a half years.

In an interview with Marijuana Moment, another SAFE Act sponsor, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), said he was “appalled at the lack of urgency.”

Cannabis businesses continue to be targeted by criminals because of their cash-heavy nature. Blumenauer noted that the burden disproportionately falls on low-level employees, smaller stores, and businesses owned by people of color.

The SAFE Act has passed the House six times but has never been taken up by the Senate. The lawmakers must now find another legislative vehicle. One option is a future package of modest cannabis-related reforms being finalized by Chuck Schumer. SAFE could also be attached to the latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).