WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that would grant banking access to legal marijuana businesses.
The "Secure and Fair Enforcement" or SAFE Act passed by a vote of 321-103, with 91 Republicans joining Democrats in favor of the bill.
Despite the fact that 33 states have legalized cannabis in some form, federal prohibition has made it difficult for businesses to get bank accounts, loans, and other financial services.
Most cannabis businesses in Colorado have long relied solely on cash, making them major targets for thieves.
Congressman Ed Perlmutter from Denver, who sponsored the bill, calls it a public safety measure.
A companion bill in the Senate, introduced by Republican Cory Gardner and by Democrat Jeff Merkley of Oregon, has not yet been voted on by the Senate Banking Committee. That committee held a hearing a late July on the issue.
Republican Mike Crapo, who chairs the banking committee, told Politico earlier this month that he will hold a vote on cannabis banking legislation, but it's not clear if he'll work off Merkley and Gardner's bill.