Two Republican representatives in Ohio are backing a federal bill that would give the state’s medical marijuana business bank access.
The bill, known as the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, had originally failed to pass the Senate in 1996. While the bill passed the House in 2019, the Senate wouldn’t clear it.
The bill was recently re-introduced and will allow marijuana-based businesses to hold bank accounts, obtain loans and access other financial services available to other legal businesses.
Ohio representatives Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, and Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, are two of four sponsors of the latest version of the SAFE Banking Act.
Reps. Nydia Velasquez, D-N.Y., and Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., introduced the bill alongside the Ohioans.
Since 2019, Ohio’s medical marijuana industry has generated $338.3 million.
Davidson, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, says the bill extends beyond the sales of marijuana.
According to him it also protects future businesses from financial cancellation if their product falls out of favor with the “latest trends of the day”.
“Today we’re talking about banking cannabis, hemp and firearms, but tomorrow there could be another industry that has its access to the banking system threatened by stature or by public opinion,” Davidson stated.
Stivers is supporting the bill to increase safety for already-legal businesses.
“We have a responsibility to legislate for the reality we live in, and the reality is that legal businesses in 33 states, including Ohio, are being denied access to the banking system and forced to assume huge risks as a result of operating solely in cash,” Stivers stated.
Along with Reps. Stivers and Davidson, Reps. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) and Dave Joyce (R-Joyce) are other Ohioans to co-sponsor the House bill.