SAFE Banking Act Reintroduced in U.S. Senate

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Melissa Schiller Legislation and regulation News Politics

U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) have reintroduced the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act in the U.S. Senate as the House companion bill, HR 1595, gains momentum.

The bipartisan legislation, which has 20 cosponsors in the Senate, would protect banks and other financial institutions from federal prosecution when working with cannabis-related businesses that are operating in compliance with state laws. Federal banking regulators would be prohibited from sanctioning banks for working with state-compliant cannabis businesses or terminating their services, taking action on loans granted 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. Further, the legislation requires the Financial Institution Council to develop guidance to help credit unions and banks understand how to legally serve cannabis businesses.

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