On September 25, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019 (H.R. 1595) on a bipartisan vote of 321-103. The bill would shield banks and insurers from federal penalties if they choose to provide services to legitimate cannabis-related businesses.
Across the country, 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational and/or medicinal purposes. This new 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 Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) has indicated his desire to hold a committee vote before the year’s end on a cannabis banking bill. An exact timeline on the vote remains unclear as lawmakers consider additional provisions to include in the bill.
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.