Congressional Republicans were successful in removing the SAFE Banking Act from the Competes Act bill, dealing another blow to the cannabis industry.
Cannabis companies will have to wait a bit longer to get access to the banking they need as Congressional Republicans stand in the way.
The Secure and Fair Enforcement Act, also known as the SAFE Banking Act, was removed from the bipartisan China competition bill, the Competes Act, with Republicans arguing that the SAFE act shouldn’t be included, The Hill reported.
Republican leaders argued that the cannabis bill didn’t fit with other measures in the China competitiveness bill after House Democrats added it to the Senate’s bipartisan version of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act that was passed last year.
Cannabis businesses that operate in states with legal recreation markets typically operate as all-cash businesses because big banks don’t want to provide services due to the federal illegality of the drug.
Those businesses usually rely on state-chartered banks or credit unions for their financial services.
Current laws are also designed to place a larger tax burden on the cannabis industry.
The SAFE Banking Act was drafted to alleviate those industry hurdles by prohibiting federal banking regulators from penalizing a bank for providing banking services to legitimate cannabis businesses.
Rhode Island Is Number 19
Rhode Island, the country’s smallest state, is set to become the 19th state in the country to legalize the sale of recreational cannabis when its market opens by the end of the year.
Last month, Gov. Dan McKee signed the Rhode Island Cannabis Act into law, allowing for 24 new retail licenses to be issued in six geographic areas across the state. Sales are expected to start in December.
Cannabis sales will be subject to a 20% tax rate divided into a 7% sales tax, a new 10% cannabis tax and a 3% local tax. The bill also allows for home growing, with a maximum of six plants, and a limit of three mature plants, per adult 21 years and older.
Adults 21 and older will be allowed to purchase and possess up to an ounce of cannabis.
The state issued nine retailer licenses between January and May and hasn’t issued any new ones since May 12, according to state records.
Rhode Island has had legal medical cannabis since the state legislature overrode a veto from then Gov. Donald Carcieri. The state’s existing medical dispensaries will be able to transition to hybrid stores selling both recreational and medical cannabis under the new law.
New Cannabis Ventures reports that there are three public companies that have stake in the region, including Goodness Growth Holdings (GDNSF) , Green Thumb Industries (GTBIF) and GrowGeneration (GRWG) – Get GrowGeneration Corp. Report.
Louisiana Becomes More Cannabis Friendly
Louisiana is still a ways away from legalizing recreational marijuana, but in the meantime, the state is set to enact a bunch of laws that are pro-marijuana, according to NORML.
House Bill 988 provides employment protections to patients who lawfully consume medical marijuana while away from their jobs.
House Bill 629 prohibits law enforcement from conducting a search of a person’s residence based on the odor of marijuana without first obtaining a warrant.
House Bill 135 permits the dispensing of medical marijuana for qualifying patients who are not Louisiana residents while House Bill 137 protects those individuals from prosecution for the purchase and possession of marijuana products.
House Bill 190 authorizes nurse practitioners with prescriptive authority to recommend medical marijuana to patients.
All of those bills have been signed by the governor and will take effect Aug. 1.