On April 19, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2021 (H.R. 1996) on a bipartisan vote of 321-101. The bill would shield banks and insurers from federal penalties if they choose to provide services to legitimate cannabis-related businesses.
To date, 47 states and the District of Columbia have legalized some form of cannabis for recreational and/or medicinal purposes, including CBD. This federal legislation would provide relief to what is currently a predominantly cash-only industry, which makes businesses vulnerable to robberies and other crimes, by providing access to checking accounts, loans and other banking services.
The bill now heads to the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has indicated his support for the legislation. However, the Majority Leader has said he would prefer to move the measure as part of a more-comprehensive criminal justice reform package, which could complicate the outlook for passage.
NACo supports legislation that would ensure greater access to banking for legally sanctioned commercial cannabis activities and will continue to monitor this legislation as it moves through Congress.