The SAFE Banking Act is proposed legislation to protect banks and their employees doing business with legal cannabis enterprises. You can read more about the origination, and premise of the SAFE Banking Act in our recent blog post, “Will Banks Get a Hit of the Cannabis Industry?”
The House Financial Services Committee approved an updated version of the SAFE Banking ACT. With this approval, there could be good news on the horizon for banks and cannabis companies. The vote was 45-15 in support of cannabis banking, including 11 Republicans, which many do not view as supporters of this industry. As a side note the SAFE Banking Act is actually a bipartisan bill, which in today’s political landscape is already a win!
The legislation now has to go back to the Floor of the House for further consideration. A senate companion bill is also expected to be introduced in the coming weeks. The bill currently has 152 co-sponsors (over one-third of the entire house), which is more than any cannabis reform legislation. As compared to previous versions of the bill, the SAFE Banking ACT of 2019 also adds protection for ancillary businesses such as real estate owners, accountants, etc.
Those in favor of the legislation, are voicing their opinion on the grounds that there is public safety concerns when businesses are cash enterprises. Concerns such as robbery, violence and others have been voiced. It is a strong belief that Cannabis companies, operating in compliance with state and local laws, should have the same access to banking services as other legal businesses. According to a Press Release from ED Perlmutter, Congressman for the 7th District of Colorado, “Other supporters of the bill include the American Bankers Association, Credit Union National Association, Independent Community Bankers of America, the Electronic Transactions Association, the National Cannabis Industry Association, Mid-Size Bank Coalition of America, The Real Estate Roundtable, and various U.S. trade associations such as American Land Title and American Property Casualty Insurance Association, among others.”
“With this vote, the Financial Services Committee took a stand for public safety and transparency. The SAFE Banking Act will enhance public safety by giving those operating legitimate marijuana establishments access to banking services available to other industries,” said Denny Heck (D-WA). “These businesses will no longer need to deal exclusively in cash. The SAFE Banking Act will help ensure the fair treatment of those who work for or do business with a legitimate marijuana business. Finally, the SAFE Banking Act will make the marijuana industry more transparent and accountable by ensuring compliance with current regulations and norms.”
With most everything in the Cannabis Industry we are now in a “wait and see” time period. As more information is released from the House and Senate we will keep you updated.