Two bills currently under consideration in Congress could help cannabis companies gain access to larger financial institutions that have avoided them, Fortune reports.
The Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act was approved by the House Financial Services Committee last month, and with its bipartisan support it’s likely to reach the House floor for a vote soon. This and a companion bill introduced this week in the Senate aim to create a “safe harbor” for financial institutions that work with businesses in the cannabis industry in states that have legalized, and protect those companies from federal prosecution since cannabis is still a prohibited and scheduled substance.
The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act would change the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, in which marijuana was designated a Schedule 1 substance, and would restrict federal officials from enforcing the act against individuals and companies in states where the drug is legal.
“With the overhang of federal prohibition, banks are wary — not wary about cannabis, they’re wary about prohibition,” said Tim Keogh, the CEO of AmeriCann, a company that owns and operates facilities that cultivate and process cannabis. “We talk to traditional bankers and they’re not against cannabis…it’s the conflict between state and federal regulations” that’s the problem.
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