The SAFE+ Act includes new language as lawmakers continue to push for cannabis reform
If the independent Safe and Fair Banking Act (SAFE) didn’t seem to be getting the attention it needed, sponsor Senator Jeff Merkley now wants to bring a fresher and renewed bill to the table. The so-called SAFE Banking Plus (SAFE+) was unveiled at the PBC Payments, Banking, and Compliance Conference in an effort to make a splash on Capitol Hill like never before.
Several bicameral and bipartisan conversations have taken place in the quest to complete this legislation. Merkley is aware that several months have passed without any action and believes it is time to seal the deal on a revamped marijuana reform package.
Through his proposal, the lawmaker wants to protect banks that provide services to state-legal cannabis businesses. In addition, he wants to add equity components in order to increase support from lawmakers who have more broadly resisted changing the fairness of the industry.
The measure appears not to be restricted to those conditions as Merklye wants language to be added to the bill to facilitate the expungement of cannabis convictions. That proposal would essentially target residents of states where marijuana is now legal, with reinvestment programs and community grants receiving different funding.
“It’s time to close the deal in SAFE Banking Plus,” Merkley said, according to Business Insider reporter Jeremey Berke. “No one has paid a political price ever for supporting cannabis in this country.” Measures like these appear to have the support of other senators, such as Cory Booker, who recently said he is open to compromises related to federal marijuana reform.