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SAFE Banking Act Text Amended, Scheduled For Mark Up

The text for the SAFE Banking Act that aims to transform banking for the cannabis industry has been amended.

According to Marijuana Moment, which has seen a copy of the amended text, the bill’s updates relate to guidance, finance regulations and reporting requirements.

The SAFE Act aims to prevent banking regulators from penalising banks for providing services to cannabis businesses, prevent proceeds from cannabis-related businesses from being subject to money laundering laws and enable loans and financial services to cannabis businesses.

Introduced to the House of Representatives in 2019, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Act has drummed up bipartisan support for its passing.

Marijuana Moment reports on a number of key amendments it has seen in the Bill’s text, which is now entitled the “Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act”.

Key amendments as reported on by the publication include changes to wording that initially prevented regulators from taking action that would discourage banks from working with cannabis-related businesses to instead state that these regulators must have a “valid reason” for preventing such relationships.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will now have 365 instead of 180 days to create guidance for financial institutions, and will have to conduct a biennial report to understand barriers to accessing deposit accounts. Banking regulators will also be required to create guidance for deposit account access within two years of the bill’s enactment.

The text has also been amended to prevent the denial of “covered” mortgages to those using proceeds from legal cannabis businesses, as opposed to “federally-backed” mortgages as the bill initially read.

Federal regulators will now also be required to submit a report on access to banking in tribal communities.

Marijuana Moment notes that the version of the bill it has seen differs from a version reported on by POLITCO earlier in the week, stating: “The version of the legislation that Politico reported on is in the format of an amendment in the nature of a substitute to the originally introduced SAFE Banking Act, whereas the document Marijuana Moment obtained is a new standalone piece of legislation titled the SAFER Banking Act.

“It is not clear how next week’s markup will unfold procedurally, in terms of whether members will vote on the new bill that will presumably be formally filed in the coming days or if they will instead move to amend the previously introduced measure with the substitute text.”

The bill is scheduled for mark up on 27 September, 2023, when the bill will be debated with all amendments considered.

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