House Members Caution Crapo on Changes to Cannabis Bill

The four bipartisan lead sponsors of the SAFE Banking Act—passed by the House last fall—yesterday wrote to Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Ohio) cautioning him not to limit the bill’s safe harbor for financial institutions that choose to serve legitimate cannabis businesses in states where it is legal. The letter came after Crapo last month expressed significant concerns about the bill, particularly related to public health and safety and money laundering.

Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Denny Heck (D-Wash.), Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) emphasized that the purpose of the bill is not to legalize marijuana, but to resolve a discrepancy between federal and state law in order to ensure public safety and provide regulatory certainty to financial institutions. They warned against changes that would impose “unworkable burdens on financial institutions, or would jeopardize the larger, bipartisan effort to address public safety concerns associated with cash-only transactions.”

ABA made similar comments in a letter to Crapo earlier this month, noting that the SAFE Banking Act is a “narrowly tailored” approach focused on getting state-sanctioned marijuana proceeds off the streets and into regulated financial institutions.