A bill that would solve the banking dilemma for cannabis businesses in Nevada and across the country passed a key House committee Thursday morning.
The Financial Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), passed H.R. 1595, the Safe Banking Act, designed to alleviate the concerns that plague the banking industry when it comes to dealing with marijuana enterprises, given federal prohibitions.
The measure, expected to be just the first whack at efforts to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, passed the committee 45 to 15. Eleven Republicans voted for the bill.
Recreational use is legal in 10 states and medical use is legal in 33 states. Both are legal in Nevada.
Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), a co-sponsor of the measure, tweeted Thursday morning that she’ll work to pass the legislation.
Great news for Nevada and the nation! Legislation just passed a key House committee to free up the banking system to work with cannabis businesses that are operating legally. I'll fight for this bill to become law.
— Dina Titus (@repdinatitus) March 28, 2019
Earlier this month, Titus talked to Nevada legislators about the dangers inherent in forcing marijuana enterprises to operate as cash businesses.
“It is absolutely absurd – and downright dangerous – for legitimately operating marijuana dispensaries to be forced to only do business in cash,” she said. “We must free up the banking system to work with businesses that are operating legally and take the state out of the money laundering business.”
The bill “addresses an urgent public safety concern for legitimate businesses that currently have no recourse but to operate with just cash,” Waters said earlier in the week. “However, I also consider this bill as part of a holistic approach toward providing criminal justice reform to those who have been harmed by criminalization of marijuana and should not by any means be the only bill the House takes up on the important issue of cannabis reform.”
Here’s a list of the 15 Republican lawmakers who voted against the Safe Banking Act:
Peter T. King, New York
Frank D. Lucas, Oklahoma
Bill Posey, Florida
Blaine Luetkemeyer, Missouri
Bill Huizenga, Michigan
Sean P. Duffy, Wisconsin
Ann Wagner, Missouri
Andy Barr, Kentucky
Roger Williams, Texas
Lee M. Zeldin, New York
Ted Budd, North Carolina
David Kustoff, Tennessee
John Rose, Tennessee
Lance Gooden, Texas
Patrick McHenry, North Carolina