CUNA Participates in SAFE Banking Act Recognition, Attention Now Turns to Senate

CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle and Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan joined Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), co-sponsors of the CUNA-backed Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595), at the U.S. Capitol Thursday to recognize the historic vote on the bill. The House passed the bill with a bipartisan 321-103 vote.

“Wednesday’s bipartisan vote showed that, regardless of one’s feelings on legalization or decriminalization of cannabis, the current regime of denying these businesses access to the financial system is unsustainable,” Nussle said. “CUNA, Leagues and credit unions were proud to demonstrate these issues to Congress on numerous occasions this year, and we’re thankful that legislators agreed with us that this is a public safety issue. But our work isn’t done yet, we look forward to engaging the Senate on this bill and working to get it across the finish line.”

The legislation would offer protections for financial institutions serving state-legalized cannabis-based businesses. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) has promised to hold a vote this fall on whether to recommend this legislation to the full Senate.

CUNA/League advocate Rachel Pross, chief risk officer at Maps CU (Salem, OR), testified before Congress twice this year in support of the bill, before the House Financial Services Committee and Senate Banking Committee.

The issue was front and center during the NJCUL’s recent in-district meetings with members of the New Jersey delegation.

The measure had 206 cosponsors including eight from New Jersey, Reps. Donald Norcross (D-1), Jeff Van Drew (D-2), Tom Malinowski (D-7), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-9), Albio Sires (D-9), Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10), Mikie Sherrill (D-11) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12).

The Senate SAFE Banking Act (S.1200) currently has 33 cosponsors including Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Menendez has also introduced the Clarifying Law Around Insurance of Marijuana, or CLAIM Act (S.2201) to address concerns of insurance providers.  

Eighteen state and two territorial governors added their names to a letter urging Congress to pass the legislation. Gov. Phil Murphy was among the twenty signatories on the letter sent to U.S. Senate and U.S. House leadership, and the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Banking and House Financial Service committees. 

NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, NJ Commissioner of Banking & Insurance Marlene Caride and NJ State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio have also added their names to colleague letters sent to Congress.

Medicinal marijuana is legal in New Jersey. While efforts to legalize recreational use stalled earlier this year, there is some indication the legislature may revisit it before year’s end. Gov. Murphy has been a vocal supporter of legalizing adult recreational use of marijuana and is expected to sign the legislation if it reaches his desk.