CUNA joined several financial trade organizations Thursday to call on House leadership to pass the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595), a bill to provide legal protections to financial institutions serving legal cannabis-based businesses. While CUNA takes no position on legalizing or decriminalizing cannabis, it strongly supports removing barriers for credit unions to serve such businesses where legal.
“The SAFE Banking Act of 2019 provides a mechanism for the cannabis industry and its service providers to deposit their cash in regulated financial institutions, which allows our members to meet the needs of their communities and helps those communities reduce cash-motivated crimes, increase the efficiency of tax collections, and improve the financial transparency of the cannabis industry,” the letter reads. “Without congressional action, a significant portion of economic activity, including those businesses with only indirect connections to the cannabis industry, such as vendors, suppliers, and utility companies, risk being marginalized from the financial system in states with legal cannabis industries.”
CUNA witness Rachel Pross, chief risk officer at Maps CU, Salem, Ore., spoke about her credit union’s experience dealing with cannabis businesses, the steps they take to ensure compliance with laws and regulations and how removing large amounts of cash from these businesses is a public safety need.
CUNA has written to Congress numerous times demonstrating the need for the SAFE Banking Act, and credit unions and Leagues around the country spent the August recess discussing the need for the SAFE Banking Act while meeting with legislators as one of the top credit union priorities for the remainder of this year.
In addition, CUNA worked with state legislators to secure support for the bill.