ICBA Supports Legal Safe Harbor for Banking Cannabis Businesses

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Legislation would prohibit federal sanctions in states where cannabis is legal

Washington, D.C (June 6, 2018)—The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) today expressed support for bipartisan legislation that would establish a safe harbor from federal sanctions for financial institutions that serve cannabis-related businesses in states where cannabis is legal. The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (H.R. 2215 and S. 1152) would enhance public safety and address regulatory compliance concerns by opening the traditional banking system to cannabis-related businesses.

“The conflict between state and federal law on cannabis-related businesses has created significant legal and compliance concerns for financial institutions that could provide needed banking services to these companies,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. “This uncertainty has forced cannabis-related businesses to operate mostly in cash, which presents a significant public safety risk. The bipartisan Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act would help eliminate this risk in states where cannabis is already legal.”

Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, and ICBA does not advocate its legalization. The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act would apply solely to states that have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use. The legislation provides that in these states, federal banking regulators may not 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 solely because it serves a cannabis-related business.

ICBA thanks the bipartisan coalition of House and Senate lawmakers who have introduced H.R. 2215 and S. 1152. ICBA and the nation’s community bankers look forward to working with lawmakers to advance this important legislation.

About ICBA

The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for nearly 5,700 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.