As state legalization measures in New York and New Jersey stumbled near the finish line this week, better news emerged from Washington, DC, as Congress made progress on two of the most prominent federal reform measures.
After debating the measure for hours on Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee approved the SAFE Banking Act on a strong bipartisan vote of 45–15 on Thursday morning. The measure would ensure that financial institutions are not punished for providing banking services to state-regulated cannabis companies. The bill will now be considered by the full House, while its companion measure in the Senate remains blocked by the chair of the Senate banking committee.
Also this week, House Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern (D-MA) indicated that support in the House was growing for the STATES Act, the leading vehicle for federal cannabis legalization. McGovern pledged to bring the measure to a full House vote “within the next several weeks.” The STATES Act would allow individual states that have legalized cannabis to regulate it as they please, without federal interference, while keeping prohibition in place in states that have not chosen to legalize.