The American Bankers Association joined a broad coalition of industry trade groups in a letter to Senate leadership, members of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, and the Armed Services Committee, urging them to include the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act in the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act. The provision already was included in the House version of NDAA, which was passed in September.
The SAFE Banking Act would provide clarity to financial institutions looking to serve legitimate cannabis businesses, in addition to creating a safe harbor for depository institutions serving cannabis-related businesses in states where such activity is legal. Currently, more than 35 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.
“A safe harbor would not only enable law enforcement and states to effectively monitor and regulate cannabis transactions and businesses, but it would bring billions of dollars of tax revenue out of duffel bags and safes and into the regulated banking sector,” the groups wrote, acknowledging that passage would be a “critical first step” in a multistep process to ensure that legal cannabis marketplaces are safe, legal and transparent.