Reps Ed Perimutter (D-CO) and Denny Heck (D-WA) recently introduced the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act in the House of Representatives. The purpose of this act is to prevent federal banking regulators from penalizing banks that work with cannabis-related businesses that are:
- Obeying state laws
- Halting their services
- Taking action on loans made to said businesses
- Limiting a depository institution’s access to the Deposit Interest Fund.
Additionally, the act seeks to protect ancillary businesses working with the cannabis industry against charges of money laundering and other financial crimes. The bill requires the Financial Institution Examination Council to create guidance measures that will help credit unions and banks have a better understanding of how to lawfully serve and work with businesses in the cannabis industry.
On Tuesday, March 26, the SAFE Banking Act will receive a full committee markup, in which a congressional committee will debate, amend and potentially rewrite this proposed piece of legislation. This will be the first time that a bill on this topic will receive a congressional committee markup, and it will be broadcast live at this link.
Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), said, “The fact that the SAFE Banking Act, which has unprecedented support in the House, is getting the serious consideration of a markup is a huge step in the right direction for the safety and transparity of the legal cannabis industry. We urge every member of Congress to support this legislation and help ease the unfair burdens facing cannabis businesses, their employees, regulators, and law enforcement due to current federal banking restrictions.”
Read more about the SAFE Banking Act and how to get involved with its efforts here.