ALTA Applauds U.S. House for Passing Bipartisan SAFE Banking Act

April 20, 2021

ALTA applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the SAFE Banking Act (HR 1996), by a vote of 321-101. This important legislation helps banks, insurers and other financial services providers serve businesses in the cannabis industry.

“ALTA applauds U.S. Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), and leadership of the House of Representatives for passing this important bill and clarifying compliance for businesses that provide services to the growing cannabis industry,” said ALTA CEO Diane Tomb. “The bill prevents federal regulators from taking enforcement actions against financial institutions and insurance companies that do business with the cannabis industry in states where it is legal. It also provides protection from prosecution for handling cannabis funds and will move those businesses away from cash-only transactions into the banking system. We encourage the Senate to consider a companion bill introduced by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) to help resolve conflicts between federal and state law regarding cannabis.”

The Senate bill currently has 32 cosponsors, including six Republicans, but the measure will still require more support to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to advance in the chamber.

A total of 36 states and four territories have authorized the use of marijuana for medical purposes and 17 states have authorized it for recreational use. However, the drug is still considered a prohibited substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act and banks that provide services to cannabis businesses can be penalized under federal money laundering laws.

“After years of bringing up this issue, I’m thrilled to see overwhelming support for this bipartisan, commonsense legislation in the U.S. House once again," Perlmutter said. "I feel optimistic about the path forward for the SAFE Banking Act and, more broadly, reforms to our federal cannabis laws. Congress needs to act in order to catch up with the will of the majority of voters across this county and to ensure we are reducing the public safety risk for our constituents and communities. Thank you to Reps. Velázquez, Stivers and Davidson for their partnership, and I look forward to working with Senators Merkley and Daines to get the SAFE Banking Act passed in the Senate and signed into law.”

U.S. Rep. Perlmutter will speak during the 2021 ALTA Advocacy Summit, which will be held virtually May 18-20.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or [email protected].