SAFE Banking Act Included in Proposed Fourth COVID Stimulus Package

June 2, 2020

The Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019 has been included as part of House Democrats’ proposal for a fourth stimulus package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SAFE Banking Act (HR 1595) provides a legal safe harbor for financial institutions doing business with state-legal cannabis businesses. The bill, sponsored by Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) and Denny Heck (D-Wash.), passed the House 321-103 in September 2019.

The SAFE Banking Act 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. The goal of the bill is to move those businesses away from cash and into the banking system. It has broad support from the financial services industry.

Over the last few years, ALTA has worked closely with sponsors to broaden the bill to protect insurance companies and settlement providers. This includes securing a provision that protects cannabis business service providers, including title and settlement companies, by insulating the proceeds of cannabis businesses from criminal or civil forfeiture. It also includes broadening the protections of the bill to provide a safe harbor for the insurance business.

While the bill is not perfect, it does address many of the roadblocks title companies face when providing services to cannabis businesses. Getting these new provisions would not have been possible without the work of ALTA's Marijuana Work Group.

Want to encourage support for the SAFE Banking Act? Utilize ALTA’s Title Action Network to send a pre-drafted message to your Congress members asking they support inclusion of the SAFE Banking Act in the next COVID-19 relief package.

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