Washington, D.C. – This week, Congressman Don Young (R-AK), Co-Chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, helped the House of Representatives pass H.R. 1595 – the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. This legislation protects financial institutions serving cannabis businesses operating legally under state law from punitive actions by the federal government. The SAFE Banking Act passed the House by a strong bipartisan vote of 321-103.
“I am a passionate supporter of a states’ rights approach to cannabis policy. For too long, the federal government has stood in the way of states that have acted to set their own cannabis policies,” said Congressman Don Young. “I have met with many constituents, including owners of small businesses in Alaska’s legal cannabis industry as well as state leaders of financial institutions. These meetings have highlighted how important it is for these entrepreneurs to have access to financial services for their business operations. When cannabis businesses are not permitted to utilize traditional financial institutions, they are forced to operate cash-only businesses, leaving significant amounts of cash out in the open and making these businesses high-profile targets for robbery and other crime. The SAFE Banking Act is as much a public safety bill as it is a cannabis bill, and I am proud to have been an original cosponsor of this important initiative.
Frankly, it has been one of the better bills to pass the House this Congress and shows that we as a Congress can still act in a bipartisan manner to help solve problems. Alaskans spoke loud and clear when they voted for legalization in our state, and I am committed to making sure our federal laws are modernized to reflect a states’ rights approach to cannabis reform. This victory is a big step forward, and I urge my friends in the Senate to pass this important legislation so that we may send it to the President’s desk to be signed into law.”
“The Alaska Marijuana Industry Association and its members are thrilled to see the SAFE Banking Act pass the House with strong bipartisan support, and hope it will move swiftly through the Senate without hurdle,” said Lacy Wilcox, President of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association. “Regardless of where you are on cannabis, the SAFE Banking Act, is an important piece of commonsense public safety legislation. We also remain grateful to Congressman Don Young for his continued leadership on this and other states’ rights issues.”