House passes marijuana bank account with bipartisan support

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would give state-authorized marijuana companies easier access to banking services.

The bill, Called the SAFE Banking Act, HR 1996 would prohibit federal bank regulators from penalizing banks and other custodians for providing banking services to cannabis companies. It passed on Monday evening with a vote of 321 to 101 bipartisans.

In total, it has 36 states and four territories has authorized the use of marijuana for medical purposes and 17 states have authorized recreational use. However, the drug is still considered a prohibited substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, and banks that provide services to cannabis companies can be sanctioned under federal money laundering laws.

The legislation passed by the House in 2019 with bipartisan support, but was ignored by the Republican-controlled Senate. Democrats are optimistic about the measure’s chances now that their party controls the chamber, although Republicans can still block most legislation.

Senators Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, and Steve Daines, a Republican from Montana, introduced the Senate bill. It currently has 32 co-sponsors, including six Republicans, but the measure will need even more support to pass the 60-vote threshold needed to advance in the chamber.