Here at NCIA’s Washington, D.C. office, we’ve been alluding to this moment for quite awhile, and it’s finally happened!
Last week, HR 1595: the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Denny Heck (D-WA). In a stunning, historic surprise, the legislation was introduced with a whopping 106 original cosponsors. That means that a quarter of the entire House of Representatives understands that the cannabis banking issue is untenable and must be addressed.
As a refresher, the SAFE Banking Act would prevent federal banking regulators from punishing banks for working with cannabis related businesses that are obeying state laws or halting their services, taking action on loans made to those businesses, or limiting a depository institution’s access to the Deposit Insurance Fund.
The bill would also protect ancillary businesses that work with the cannabis industry from being charged with money laundering and other financial crimes, and requires the Financial Institution Examination Council to develop guidance to help credit unions and banks understand how to lawfully serve cannabis businesses.
Draft legislation of the SAFE Banking Act received a historic hearing in the House Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Subcommittee last month. NCIA submitted written testimony along with the personal stories about the burdens and safety concerns created by the current banking situation from nearly 100 cannabis industry professionals.
Now that the bill has been formally introduced, NCIA will continue to build support for the legislation by gathering additional cosponsors, and then pushing for a committee mark-up in the spring.
Interested in helping with these efforts? You can:
– Call your representative and ask them to cosponsor the HR 1595: the SAFE Banking Act. If they’re already a cosponsor, thank them for their support. You can find out how to contact your member of Congress and find some helpful tips here.
– Attend one of NCIA’s upcoming Cannabis Caucus events to get an in-depth federal policy update – register here.
– Make sure you’re planning to attend NCIA’s 9th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days, being held in Washington, D.C. on May 21-23, 2019!