The House Financial Services Committee yesterday approved legislation that would help financial institutions serve cannabis businesses operating in legalized states. The SAFE Banking Act is sponsored by Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) and Denny Heck (D-Wash.) and would allow banks and credit unions to work with growers, dispensaries and other marijuana-related businesses. This would provide safe harbor and guidance to federal institutions, which are currently skittish about serving the legal cannabis industry due to conflicts in state and federal regulations.
Now, the bill will go back to the House for further consideration, and advocates are hopeful it will have strong bipartisan support. The bill currently has 152 co-sponsors, nearly a third of the House and more than any cannabis reform legislation in history, according to the NCIA.
Business owners and operators have struggled with the banking crisis since legalization in their respective states, and the pressure has increased recently with reports of banks shutting down cannabis- and hemp-related business bank accounts. Publicized most recently, SunTrust Bank notified the Medical Marijuana Business Association that it would close its bank accounts as of April 18, and they are an ancillary industry business, not touching the plant.
As always, we have work to do in order to keep this momentum going. Please consider joining Greenspoon Marder and 300+ other members at the NCIA’s 9th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days in D.C. in May. We will have the opportunity to speak directly to our representatives about why the SAFE Banking Act – and other important pieces of legislation – are crucial to the future of the legal cannabis industry.