As federal legislators continue to debate the finer points of a broad spending bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a newly published version of the legislation excludes cannabis banking reform language that had been previously included.
Marijuana Moment first reported the news on Tuesday.
The U.S. House has repeatedly passed the framework of the SAFE Banking Act, which would provide a legitimate legal avenue for financial institutions to work with private cannabis businesses. The addition of the banking reform language in the NDAA was the House’s latest attempt to get this policy approved as law.
The U.S. Senate, meanwhile, had not yet acted on any version of the banking reform bill. And as the NDAA works its way through the legislature, U.S. senators won’t have a chance to chime in on the SAFE Banking Act at this point, either.
“I'm disappointed #SAFEBanking is not included in the NDAA bill text released today,” U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a sponsor of the banking reform bill, tweeted. “The Senate insists on burying its head in the sand and deny every opportunity to reform our outdated cannabis laws to align state and federal law to improve public safety.”
After years of debate on the matter, the question (and the timing) of banking reform remains elusive in 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," Steven Hawkins, CEO of US Cannabis Council, said in a public statement. "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."