The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act has hit a major roadblock in the US after being de-coupled from the must-pass National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) this week.
The act, which would unlock the US financial system for cannabis companies, had been amended into the NDAA in September by the House of Representatives and the move received further support from a bipartisan coalition of governors in November who called for the Senate to follow suit.
However, Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter confirmed on Twitter the act was removed by a conference committee and pledged to file an amendment to re-attach it to the NDAA.
He wrote: “I’m disappointed #SAFEBanking is not included in the NDAA bill text released today.”
“The Senate insists on burying its head in the sand and deny every opportunity to reform our outdated cannabis laws to align state and federal law to improve public safety.”
US Cannabis Council CEO Steve Hawkins said in a statement: “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.”
Despite bipartisan support, key Senate Democrats and the Drug Policy Alliance said lawmakers should not approve the act until passing a more comprehensive cannabis legalisation bill such as the MORE act, which has been ignored by the Senate but approved by the House several times.