The Marijuana Banking Bill Is Coming Back

The House Financial Services Committee released its latest draft legislation creating a “safe harbor” for banks to serve the cannabis industry, six years after it was initially introduced, on February 7th 2019. The bill will prohibit federal regulators from penalizing banks and other financial institutions that provide banking services to the cannabis industry business owners and employees.

With the rapidly expanding cannabis businesses and state legalization, the bill supporters claim that it will provide the industry legal clarity as they face serious financial and security risks.

Entitled the “Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019” (SAFE Banking Act of 2019), will push for greater protections than its previous version including:

  1. Identifies and adds protection for businesses providing products or services to cannabis-related businesses

  2. Adds protections for marijuana-related “retirement plans or exchange trade funds” along with “the sale or lease of real or any property/legal or other licensed services related to cannabis”

  3. Protection for the “distributing or deriving any proceeds, directly or indirectly, from cannabis or cannabis products”

  4. Specifies how businesses on tribal land could qualify

  5. Requires that the Federal Financial Institution Examination Council develop guidance to help financial institutions lawfully serve cannabis-related legitimate businesses

This bill is authored by Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Denny Heck (D-WA), Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Warren Davidson (R-OH), who have indicated that they plan to re-introduce the Safe Baking Act by the end of the month.