Governors Call for Cannabis Banking Bill’s Inclusion in NDAA

A group of 24 Democratic and Republican governors yesterday called on Congress to include the SAFE Banking Act—an American Bankers Association-backed bill that provides clarity to financial institutions seeking to serve legitimate cannabis businesses—as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, noting that the bill has “more bipartisan support than ever before.”

The bill—which passed the House in the last Congress but was not taken up in the Senate—would provide a safe harbor for depository institutions serving cannabis 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.

“The cannabis industry is legal in some form in the majority of U.S. states and it is too large of a market to be prohibited from banking opportunities,” the governors wrote in a letter to congressional leaders. “The SAFE Banking Amendment will remedy these harms and help keep communities in our states and territories safe by allowing legitimate and legal cannabis companies to access banking services.”