U.S. Lawmakers Approve Bill To Ease Banking For Cannabis Companies

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a bill that would let American banks do business with cannabis companies without fear of penalty.

The so-called "SAFE Banking Act" would be a boon for cannabis companies, which have so far been hurt by the necessity to deal in cash because of federal restrictions in the U.S.

That has meant cannabis companies have extra security costs and logistic problems, even as cannabis increasingly becomes legal. Some three dozen U.S. states now allow medical or recreational use of cannabis.

The SAFE Banking Act, which has been passed by the House with bipartisan Democratic and Republican support, now heads to the U.S. Senate for debate and a vote on whether to pass it into law. The bill’s prospects are unclear in the Senate.

The U.S. Cannabis Council, a trade group that represents companies in the industry, called the current rules that require cannabis firms to be all-cash a security hazard that is holding back the entire industry.

The American cannabis industry had $20.3 billion U.S. in legal sales in 2020, according to New Frontier Data.