Trades Continue Push for Senate Consideration of SAFE Banking Act

The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act is a critical first step to ensure legal cannabis marketplaces are safe, legal and transparent, CUNA and other financial services trade organizations wrote to Senate Banking Committee leadership Thursday. CUNA and the other organizations called on the Senate Banking Committee to bring up and vote on the SAFE Banking Act or similar measures.

The bill would provide a safe harbor for entities that conduct legal, cannabis-based businesses, which CUNA supports. CUNA takes no position on the legalization or decriminalization of cannabis.

“A growing chorus of Americans and legal businesses now face an increasing number of risks resulting from a patchwork legal system with no federal banking protections. Because of this, U.S. industry and, especially, financial institutions – which provide the infrastructure for safe marketplaces to grow— must assume civil and in some instances, criminal liability in order to service state-licensed cannabis businesses and ancillary companies,” the letter reads.

“As a result, the distribution, sale, possession, research, transaction, housing, employment, and broader landscape of cannabis is becoming increasingly problematic.  This only creates more legal and security concerns that impact the operations and safety of businesses and consumers,” it adds. “More notably, the lack of available safe harbor for cannabis will continue to challenge the full adoption and deployment of the legal hemp and CBD products market in the U.S. due to the inextricable link between hemp and cannabis.”

CUNA has testified before both the Senate Banking Committee and House Financial Services Committee this year in support of the SAFE Banking Act. The House passed the bill with a historic, bipartisan 321-103 vote in September.

“A safe harbor would not only enable law enforcement and states to effectively monitor and regulate cannabis transactions and businesses, but it would bring billions of dollars and tax revenue out of duffel bags and safes and into the regulated banking sector,” the letter reads.