SAFE Banking Act should be added to NDAA, status quo is ‘untenable’

December 2, 2021

CUNA joined a diverse multi-sector coalition of organizations calling on Senate leaders to include the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act to the Senate National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2022. The SAFE Banking Act was included in the House-passed NDAA.

The SAFE Banking Act would provide protections for financial institutions serving legal cannabis-based businesses. It has passed the House several times, most recently as a standalone bill in April.

“[T]he status quo is untenable for workers, communities, ancillary businesses, and law-abiding financial institutions,” the letter reads.

“Enactment would provide legitimate businesses with access to necessary insurance products and protections that ate afforded to other businesses,” it adds. “For employees, customers, and neighbors of cannabis-related businesses (CRB) the prohibition on banking services means a cash intensive environment that is a target for violent crime.”

The organizations also note the SAFE Banking Act is germane to the NDAA as keeping bad actors out of the cannabis industry and financial system bolsters national security.

“By providing traditional financial services for state-licensed cannabis businesses—through the safe harbor creating by SAFE Banking—you are increasing transparency and accountability for an industry that generated more than $17 billion in 2020,” the letter reads. “Financial institutions adhere to stringent anti-money laundering reporting requirements and monitor accounts for suspicious activity. By bringing CRBs into the regulated financial system, you would be giving regulators and law enforcement the tools they need to identify and prosecute bad actors.”