By a vote of 45 to 15, the House Financial Services Committee today advanced the American Bankers Association-backed Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act, which would address the issue of providing financial services to cannabis-related businesses.
The SAFE Banking Act specifies that proceeds from “cannabis-related legitimate businesses” would not be considered unlawful under federal money laundering rules or other laws. It would also direct the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and federal banking regulators to issue guidance and exam procedures for banks that serve cannabis-related legitimate businesses.
ABA welcomed the vote, calling it “an important step forward in providing regulatory and legal clarity” for institutions operating in states that have legalized marijuana, as well as providing access to financial services to legitimate cannabis businesses. “Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle recognize this problem needs to be addressed, particularly with the public safety concerns that arise when these businesses are cut off from the banking system and forced to hold large amounts of cash,” said ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols. “Not only will the SAFE Banking Act address some of those concerns, but it will also make tax collections from cannabis-related business activity more efficient and increase transparency.”