CAPITAL & CREDIT – CANNABIS – March 29, 2019 - Roundtable Weekly

House Committee Approves Bill Allowing Banks to Serve Legal Cannabis Businesses; Roundtable Urges Enactment

The House Financial Services Committee on March 27 approved the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 20119 (H.R. 1595), which would allow financial institutions to legally work with state-authorized cannabis-related businesses.

2019-03-25 image SAFE Banking Act letter

The Roundtable earlier in the week sent a letter urging swift enactment of the legislation to the leadership of the House Financial Services and Judiciary Committees.

  • The bipartisan bill, approved by a 45-15 vote, was co-sponsored Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Denny Heck (D-WA), Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Warren Davidson (R-OH).
  • The Real Estate Roundtable earlier in the week sent a letter urging swift enactment of the legislation to the leadership of the House Financial Services and Judiciary Committees. 
  • Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer notes in the letter, “The SAFE Banking Act provides much-needed clarity for the banking, real estate, and business sectors to function within the contours of state laws that have legalized marijuana.”
  • The Roundtable letter emphasizes that federal and state law differences on cannabis policy leaves banks and real estate providers trapped between their mission to serve lawful businesses in local communities – and the threat of federal enforcement action.  If H.R. 1595 is enacted, federally regulated banks would no longer face the threat of sanction simply by providing financial services to a legitimate cannabis-related businesses (CRB).
  • “Without a bank account, dispensaries and other legal CRBs must operate on a cash basis,” DeBoer notes. “Risks of crime thus increase and tax revenues to pay for infrastructure and other government services are potentially lost.  H.R. 1595 can significantly address these problems by providing protections for banks, real estate firms and their employees from punishment simply because they aim to serve businesses within the 46 states that have legalized marijuana to varying degrees,” DeBoer stated.  (Roundtable SAFE Act letter, March 25)

Rep. Perlmutter noted the broad support for the legislation from the business community, including The Roundtable, in a March 28 news release. Perlmutter added, “With 152 cosponsors at the time of the committee vote – over a third of the entire House – the bill will next move to the floor of the House.  A Senate companion bill is also expected to be introduced in the coming weeks.”  

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