This week, the SAFE Banking Act’s long-awaited reintroduction finally happened, and by a bipartisan group of over 100 members of the House and 30 members of the Senate (and counting!). The legislation was first introduced in March 2019, and we’ve followed along ever since. This Act has now been passed by the House THREE times, most recently in the fall of 2019. At that time, it showed some promise but ultimately remained pending before the Senate Banking Committee indefinitely. Now that there appears to more bipartisan support than ever, and with renewed calls for change by the American Bankers Association, the Credit Union National Association and other prominent voices in the industry, 2021 may finally be the year we see the SAFE Banking Act turn into law.
In case you need a refresher, the SAFE Banking Act aims to create a safe harbor for banks and credit unions so they cannot be held liable or subject to federal forfeiture action for providing financial services to a cannabis-related business. Under the Act, federal banking regulators cannot:
Terminate or limit the deposit insurance or share insurance of a depository institution solely because the institution provides financial services to a cannabis-related business;