The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate cannot seem to come to an agreement on a second coronavirus stimulus bill to help assist millions of Americans who have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

Heroes Act

In May, the House passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which carried an estimated $3.4 trillion. The HEROES Act provided support to state and local governments, a $1,200 stimulus payment to Americans, and eliminated cost sharing for COVID-19 treatments. It also included the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. the SAFE Banking Act’s purpose “is to increase public safety by ensuring access to financial services to cannabis-related legitimate businesses and service providers and reducing the amount of cash at such businesses.”

Safe Banking Act Brings Relief to Marijuana Businesses

Since federal law has kept marijuana illegal on the federal level (categorized as a Schedule 1 substance) all marijuana-related businesses are not able to bank through normal banking channels. Cannabis businesses are not allowed to legally open a bank account, process credit card payments, or apply for business loans from banks. Financial institutions fear that non-compliance of these rules will result in being prosecuted.

As the House and Senate try, yet again, to come to an agreement on a coronavirus stimulus package, the House recently proposed new trimmed down legislation, coming in at $2.2 trillion. This newly updated HEROES Act still allows for direct payments to Americans, bolsters funding for education, and, thankfully, includes the SAFE Banking Act language.

If passed by both the House and the Senate, the SAFE Banking Act would allow financial institutions to work directly with cannabis businesses, which in turn should decrease the risk of theft, since marijuana businesses are now only allowed to operate on a cash-only basis. That would be a good thing for all marijuana-related businesses.