House Votes on SAFE Banking to allow Cannabis & CBD businesses access to banking
SAFE Banking Act: House votes to allow Commercial Cannabis & CBD Companies Access to Banks
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 321-103 to allow state-licensed cannabis businesses access to banking services. The Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act was introduced in March by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) with the goal of protecting banks who choose to work with cannabis businesses from incurring additional risks or penalties due to cannabis’ federal status as a Controlled Substance. The SAFE Banking Act would allow cannabis and CBD companies to operate more safely, transparently, and efficiently.
The Act would prohibit any federal banking regulator from penalizing a depository institution for providing banking services to legitimate cannabis businesses. If the Act becomes law, federal banking regulators would be prohibited from the following actions:
(1) Terminating or limiting the deposit insurance or share insurance of a depository institution on the basis that the institution provides financial services to a legitimate cannabis-related business
(2) Prohibiting or discouraging a depository institution from offering financial services to a cannabis-related business
(3) Incentivizing, or encouraging a depository institution not to offer financial services to an account holder solely because the account holder is affiliated with a cannabis business
(4) Taking any adverse or corrective supervisory action on a loan made to a person solely because the person either owns a cannabis-related business or owns real estate or equipment leased or sold to such a business
(5) Penalizing a depository institution for processing or collecting payments for a cannabis-related business
Regulators would be prohibited from penalizing institutions for providing loans and depository services to licensed cannabis-related business. That includes authorizing, processing, clearing, settling, billing, transferring, reconciling, or collecting payments by any means (credit, debit, check, e-payment, etc.). Additionally, this legislation would require the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) to develop uniform examination procedures for all depository institutions serving cannabis-related businesses.
The SAFE Banking Act was recently revised to clarify that banking protections also apply to all hemp and CBD businesses and it also protects certain other businesses from being targeted by financial regulators.
Now that the bill has passed the House, the next step is the Senate. The Senate Banking Chairman, Mike Crapo (R-ID), announced that he plans to hold a committee vote some time before the end of the year. On the issue of cannabis banking, Sen. Crapo has also suggested an intent to poll his constituents in Idaho, a state that has refused to legalize any form of cannabis and consistently pushed back on policy reform.
A successful house vote is a significant step for cannabis and CBD businesses and shows that legalization is gaining momentum at the Federal level to address critical banking issues facing the cannabis and hemp industries.
LME Law is an LA based law firm that serves cannabis and CBD brands, investors, and operators throughout California. Our blog is dedicated to bringing actionable legal insights about legislative and market developments to this new industry.