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Marijuana Banking, Cryptocurrency Regulation May Be Combined Into Single Bill

Proposed rules for marijuana banking and cryptocurrency regulation may be combined into a single bill.

The legislation has not been finalized, but there have been talks in the U.S. Congress about combining a cannabis bill, the “Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act,” and a stablecoin measure, Marijuana Moment reported Sunday (April 14).

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said that he aims to pass legislation to “safeguard cannabis banking” and achieve that in the “weeks and months ahead,” according to the report.

The SAFER Banking Bill has been awaiting action by the Senate since being passed by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs in September 2023, Seeking Alpha reported Monday (April 15).

The bill could impact a number of multistate operators and cannabis exchange-traded funds (ETFs), according to the report.

It was reported April 1 that while more than half of all Americans live in a state that has legalized marijuana, banks won’t work with cannabis sellers because the drug is still illegal under federal law.

As a result, legitimate cannabis businesses still find themselves wondering what to do with all their cash, as it is nearly impossible for them to accept payments in anything other than cash.

While the U.S. House has passed a bipartisan bill that would make it easier for cannabis companies to find banking services, the Senate has never voted on its version. However, that vote could come this year.

Some saw a possible opening of the door to more cohesive payments systems in the sector in August 2023, when U.S. health officials recommended easing restrictions on cannabis and reclassifying it as a Schedule III drug under the Controlled Substances Act.

Currently, cannabis is classified as a Schedule I substance, which implies a high risk of abuse and no accepted medical use. If cannabis were to be reclassified as a Schedule III drug, it would be seen as less dangerous and could be obtained legally with a prescription.

As an indicator of the size of potential business payments, the business-to-business (B2B) cannabis platform LeafLink reported that it passed the $1 billion transaction mark in September 2022 with its payment solutions and expected more growth.