Will Cannabis Banking Reform Happen This Session?


<![CDATA[Despite a busy year on the state level and multiple bills announced and introduced into Congress, not much legislative progress has been made on federal cannabis policy in 2021.  Late last month, the House took yet another preliminary step towards the regulation of financial services for cannabis by including banking provisions in a limited budget proposal approved by a full floor vote. The “minibus” package, which includes appropriations for important government agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Social Security Administration, also contains a section preventing federal dollars from being used to penalize financial institutions for doing business with cannabis companies. Including the standalone Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which passed the House twice on its own and once as part of an October 2020 COVID relief bill, the minibus marks the fourth time the full House of Representatives has approved cannabis banking since 2019.  Will the fourth time be the charm for financial services and cannabis? Could the acceptance of standalone banking regulations sap momentum for full scale reform?  Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary spoke with prominent associations in the industry to answer these questions and determine whether or not banking protections have a real chance of passing this year. Comparing the minibus cannabis regulations to its predecessors Experts and analysts have pointed out that the banking protections included in the spending package aren’t as comprehensive as the SAFE Banking Act. And unlike the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act recently announced by Sens. Booker and Wyden, it doesn’t address the legal standing of the plant. For cannabis advocates, the smaller focus is less desirable than wholesale cannabis reform but may indicate the issue still matters to legislators. “While limited in scope, appropriations riders are important opportunities for…

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