Last week, the House voted to approve the SAFE Banking Act, HR 1595. The bill passed with bipartisan support despite opposition from conservative members and Republican leadership who argue Congress should address the issue of marijuana legalization directly instead of voting on a narrow carve out for the banking industry.
The bill was praised during the floor debate by members of both parties, including cosponsors Representatives Ed Perlmutter (D-Colorado), Denny Heck (D-WA), and Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), along with House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-California).
House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-North Carolina) and Representative David Kustoff (R-Tennessee) were among the Republicans to rise in opposition of the bill. Representative Kustoff expressed concerns HR 1595 would incentivize and encourage the expanded use of marijuana. Ranking Member McHenry argued the issue should be addressed through comprehensive legislation that authorizes the federal government to monitor and regulate the widespread use of cannabis.
Despite these oppositions, the bill ultimately enjoyed broad bipartisan support for providing relief to cannabis businesses and cannabis related businesses that were forced to operate as cash-only businesses. Democrats who spoke in support of the bill said the SAFE Banking Act was a small step towards progress but that members will continue to push for comprehensive marijuana legalization and reform.
The final vote count for HR 1595:
- Y: 321
- N: 103
The bill received 229 yea votes from Democrats, 91 from Republicans, and one vote from Representative Justin Amash (I-MI). The bill was opposed by 102 Republicans and one Democrat. The only Californians to oppose the bill were Representatives Ken Calvert (R-California), Doug LaMalfa (R-California), and Paul Cook (R-California).