In Landmark Vote, House Passes ABA-Backed SAFE Banking Act

By a bipartisan vote of 321 to 103 tonight, the House passed the SAFE Banking Act, the ABA-supported bill that would provide clarity to financial institutions seeking to serve legitimate cannabis businesses. With cannabis now legal in some form in 33 states, the bill would allow banks to serve cannabis-related businesses in those states, and prohibit federal regulators from taking action against a bank solely because cannabis is involved.

American Bankers Association President and CEO Rob Nichols welcomed the vote. “By helping to provide clarity for the financial sector in those states where cannabis is legal, this bill will help banks meet the needs of their communities while reducing cash-motivated crimes, increasing the efficiency of tax collections and improving the cannabis industry’s financial accountability,” Nichols said. “It will also ensure that businesses with indirect ties to the cannabis industry—including vendors, utility companies and law firms—won’t be needlessly forced out of the financial system.

With the bill’s passage the conversation around cannabis now shifts to the Senate, where Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) has signaled a willingness in recent days to advance a cannabis banking bill. “We urge the Senate to follow the House’s lead by quickly passing legislation to resolve the current conflict between state and federal law when it comes to banking cannabis,” Nichols added. “We stand ready to work with lawmakers in both parties to move this important process forward.”