SAFE Banking Act: Financial Services for Legal Cannabis-Related Businesses (CRBs)

Legal cannabis-related businesses (CRBs) face the challenge of obtaining bank accounts, and commercial property owners face legal challenges of taking on CRB tenants without safe harbor protections.

Federal and state law differences on cannabis policy leave banks and real estate providers trapped between their mission to serve lawful businesses in local communities — and the threat of federal enforcement action.


The Roundtable supports the passage of The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which would prohibit a federal banking regulator from penalizing a depository institution for providing banking services to a legal CRB, permitting them to utilize banking services. Further, it would treat the proceeds from a transaction involving activities of a legal CRB as lawful activity and not subject to anti-money laundering laws. 

Protections like SAFE are necessary to provide commercial property owners a safe harbor if they lease space to a CRB, meaning their mortgages could not be subject to corrective action by a bank. 

In states where prescription and recreational marijuana use is legal, there is increasing demand for commercial space from legal CRBs. Real estate owners, lessors, brokers, and financiers need certainty when they transact with these businesses.


Federally insured financial institutions are unable to serve legitimate cannabis-related businesses due to divergent state and federal cannabis laws. The SAFE Banking Act seeks to remove these ambiguities at the federal level, clearing the path for more financial institutions to serve the legitimate cannabis industry.

Currently, 47 states, four U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia have legalized some form of marijuana for either medicinal or recreational purposes. Despite this widespread legalization at the state level, marijuana remains an illegal Schedule I controlled substance under federal law.

Unable to use a bank account, dispensaries and other legal CRBs must operate on a cash basis. Risks of crime thus increase and tax revenues to pay for infrastructure and other government services are potentially lost. Commercial property owners could also face legal challenges of taking on legal CRB tenants without safe harbor protections.

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SAFE Banking Act: Financial Services for Legal Cannabis-Related Businesses (CRBs)