Hemp firms rooting for marijuana banking clause in House’s $3 trillion stimulus bill

Hemp farmers and businesses could get additional banking and financing help if the $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill introduced Tuesday by U.S. House Democrats becomes law.

The SAFE Banking Act, which passed the House last September but has stalled in the Senate, is included in its entirety in the latest stiumulus proposal. A vote on the 1,815-page bill, which includes language to help secure hemp banking, could come later this week.

Jonathan Miller, a Kentucky attorney and hemp lobbyist who leads the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, told Hemp Industry Daily that the House’s inclusion of the SAFE Banking Act in its stimulus effort could help the legislation among conservatives who may be anti-marijuana but pro-hemp.

“It demonstrates how much of a priority this legislation is for the House, and it’s clear this is something that they’re going to be fighting for when they get into negotiations with the Senate,” Miller said.

But the Republican-controlled Senate already has warned that the stimulus bill, if passed by the House, won’t be considered.

The Senate’s Republican leaders say that another huge round of coronavirus-related stimulus funding isn’t yet warranted.

Miller told Hemp Industry Daily that advocates are “realistic” about the measure’s prospects but consider the banking inclusion an important signal.

“If we don’t get it this time, it’s just an indication that the chances are better now that we’ll get it at some point in the near future.”

Financial institutions are already cleared to do business with legal hemp and CBD companies. But Miller said that SAFE Banking Act passage would encourage risk-averse banks, financial institutions and credit card companies to do business with hemp operators.