Policy Issues

Roundtable Supports Legislation Allowing Banks to Serve Legal Cannabis Businesses

March 25, 2019

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The House Financial Services Committee on March 27 approved the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019 (H.R. 1595), which would allow financial institutions to legally work with state-authorized cannabis-related businesses.

The Roundtable 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.