ABA Urges Lawmakers to Advance SAFE Banking Act

In a letter to several members of the House Financial Services Committee today, the American Bankers Association expressed support for the SAFE Banking Act of 2021, which would provide a safe harbor for depository institutions seeking to serve legitimate cannabis-related businesses in states where such activity is legal.

The bill—which was passed by the House in the last Congress but was not taken up in the Senate—is expected to be reintroduced in the House this week.

Currently, 36 states have legalized cannabis for medical or adult use, but current federal law prevents banks from safely banking cannabis businesses, including ancillary businesses that provide them with goods and services. “Our member banks find themselves in a difficult situation due to the conflict between state and federal law, with local communities encouraging them to bank cannabis businesses and federal law prohibiting it,” the association said. “Congress must act to resolve this conflict between state and federal law.”