On Monday night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the SAFE Banking Act with a bipartisan vote of 321-101 with all House Democrats voting in favor of the bill and 106 Republican members.

Last week, we wrote about our concerns with the legislation as it related to hemp. As we read the bill literally, Section 11 identifies “legitimate hemp-related businesses” as those being compliant with the 2018 Farm bill and subsequent regulations. NIHC’s concerns were about those states operating under 2014 Farm Bill authorities to establish hemp pilot programs, and whether or not the protections in the SAFE Banking Act apply to hemp produced under such programs and/or imported from abroad. If these protections are not made explicitly applicable, then businesses trading in hemp produced on over 70 percent of the licensed acres—including 4 of the 5 largest state programs—in the United States could be disqualified from participating in the banking system. Manufacturers that use imported hemp, such as major apparel brands that produce and sell clothing made with imported hemp, could be disqualified from banking services as well.

The NIHC believes the SAFE Banking Act is a good bill. We understand the reasons for the bill, and we agree with them. However, we believe this good bill can be made even better by eliminating any ambiguity that arises from those who may misinterpret the legislative text as excluding the overwhelming majority of businesses in our industry.

The NIHC believes the SAFE Banking Act is a good bill. We understand the reasons for the bill, and we agree with them. However, we believe this good bill can be made even better by eliminating any ambiguity that arises from those who may misinterpret the legislative text as excluding the overwhelming majority of businesses in our industry.

We have been working this issue on Capitol Hill speaking with the authors of this bill in both the House and the Senate. We particularly want to thank Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) who wrote this bill in the House for being open to hearing NIHC’s concerns.

This legislation now moves to the U.S. Senate and the NIHC will continue to be engaged on this issue.

For more on NIHC efforts on the SAFE Banking Act, read here.

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