ICBA-backed cannabis banking safe harbor reintroduced

ICBA expressed support for newly reintroduced bipartisan legislation to establish a safe harbor for financial institutions that serve cannabis-related businesses in states where cannabis is legal.

The Bill: Introduced by House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Chairman Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act would open the traditional banking system to cannabis-related businesses. Similar legislation passed the House in 2019 but did not advance in the Senate.

Background: The conflict between state and federal law has created legal uncertainty for banks and forced cannabis-related businesses to operate mostly in cash, presenting a public safety risk.

Details: The SAFE Banking Act would apply to states that have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use. In these states, federal banking regulators would not be permitted to threaten or limit a bank’s deposit insurance, downgrade a loan, prohibit or discourage the provision of banking services, or take any other prejudicial action on banks solely for serving a cannabis-related business.