As cash pertains to cannabis, the supermajority consensus in the U.S. House of Representatives is that federal regulators should not penalize depository institutions for providing banking services to legitimate cannabis-related businesses.
That consensus was unveiled during a 321-101 vote in April, when the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act cruised to bipartisan passage in the lower chamber, which has indicated time, and time again, that the federal government has a responsibility to provide safe harbor to financial institutions servicing the industry.
But that was a standalone bill, which has yet to make progress in the Senate.
The question on Sept. 21 in the House was whether SAFE Banking should be attached as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) spending package for fiscal 2022.
While Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., supported SAFE Banking as a standalone bill five months ago, he said Tuesday night it had no business hitching a ride with NDAA. Rogers is the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, which works hand in hand with NDAA.
“This is a fine piece of legislation in a standalone fashion,” Rogers said. “In fact, I voted for the gentleman’s standalone bill. I think what he’s trying to accomplish is admirable and should be accomplished, but not in the National Defense Authorization Act.”
Majority opinion steered from Rogers opposition, as SAFE Banking passed by a voice vote as the first amendment to be added to the NDAA package. It marks the fifth time the act has passed in the House.
In the last Congress, the lower chamber overwhelmingly passed a standalone version of SAFE Banking in 2019, and then House members passed the measure two more times as part of federal coronavirus relief bills in 2020. But the legislation stalled, in part because former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., never