The House of Representatives approved a bill last week that will protect banks servicing cannabis businesses and is a necessary step towards facilitating international trade.
The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, sponsored by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) garnered impressive bipartisan support. The bill won near unanimous Democrat votes along with around half of the Republicans. Amidst an increased public acceptance of cannabis reform from many high-profile politicians, this is a sure sign that prohibition is drawing to an end and the economic engine that is the cannabis industry is drawing the respect it deserves from the banking sector as well as politicians. The vote was widely tipped to pass but the final tally of 321-103 exceeded many expectations.
Though not a vote on ending federal prohibition, the banking legislation represents a positive first step toward federal legalisation and broader reform. What is less clear is how the bill will fare in the Republican-controlled Senate, which officially received the SAFE Banking Act from the House on Friday, but the largely bipartisan nature of the vote could help push it forward in the other chamber.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) said he wants to have a vote on cannabis banking legislation by the end of the year, which is an evolution from his previous criticism of advancing such a reform while cannabis remains federally illegal. In essence, something in this deadlock had to give, and it did.
“The fact that it got nearly 100 percent of Dems and pretty close to 50 percent of Republicans demonstrates how mainstream cannabis reform has come,” Michael Liszewski, senior regulatory affairs counsel at 4Front Ventures, told Marijuana Moment. He went on to say that the fact that “so many Republicans supported it shows that it can be successful in the Senate.”
Not only is this development good news for businesses in individual states, it is also good news when viewed at a macro level. It helps facilitate international trade for the cannabis industry, particularly in trade with Europe where, according to figures from the European Commision, total US investment is three times higher than in all of Asia.
EU and US investments are the real driver of the transatlantic relationship, contributing to growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. It is estimated that a third of the trade across the Atlantic actually consists of intra-company transfers. So having legal money in the bank is essential for a legally operating business eyeing international trade.
The EU and the US economies combined account for half the entire world GDP and for nearly a third of world trade flows. Whilst the US is trailblazing the way for the cannabis industry, Europe is set to be the largest value cannabis market in the world. Given the right conditions trade will flourish.
It’s positive to see, at a federal level, US business is getting the validity it deserves to participate in the rapidly growing international cannabis trade. Slowly but surely, the barriers are crumbling. Cannabis Europa is delighted to act as the transatlantic bridge between these two economic powerhouses as they find ways to work together.
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