The full House is expected to vote on the bill within weeks.

The House Financial Services Committee on March 28 voted 45-15 to advance the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which would provide federal protection for financial institutions that serve state-authorized marijuana and ancillary businesses.

The measure would:

• Prevent federal banking regulators from punishing financial institutions that serve cannabis-related businesses that comply with state laws.
• Require the Financial Institutions Examination Council to develop within 180 days guidance and examination procedures for financial institutions that serve lawful cannabis businesses.
• Require federal banking regulators to issue an annual report to Congress that contains data on the availability of financial services to minority- and women-owned cannabis businesses as well as recommendations on how to expand those services.

The full House is expected to vote on the bill within weeks.

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), the chair of the House Rules Committee, which has a lot of influence on which bills go to the floor, said on March 28 that the full House will vote on the bill “in the next few weeks,” and he predicted it will pass. “I think it will pass with an overwhelming vote, Democrats and a lot of Republicans as well,” said McGovern.

The Republican-controlled Senate has yet to say whether the bill will be considered in that chamber and the vote in the Senate may be more difficult to achieve.

Industry associations lauded the House Financial Services Committee vote. “The SAFE Banking Act would go a long way toward improving safety, transparency, access and justice in the cannabis industry,” Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said in a statement.