On Thursday, March 18, the "Secure and Faire Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2021" was introduced by Representatives Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Nydia M. Velazquez (D-NY), and Warren Davidson (R-OH). This bipartisan bill creates a safe harbor for federally-insured financial institutions to provide services to cannabis-related businesses in states that have legalized the substance.
Currently thirty-six states, the District of Columbia, and all four U.S. territories have legalized cannabis for medicinal or recreational use, but it remains a Schedule-1 narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act. As a result, legitimate cannabis businesses in states that have legalized the substance, or businesses that derive any income from them - including real estate - can't work with federally-insured financial institutions due to anti-money laundering laws. This means that many such businesses have to operate on a cash-only basis, which creates difficulty collecting taxes and enforcing regulations, as well as increases safety risks to the communities they are in. The SAFE Banking Act would create a safe harbor allowing financial institutions to work with legitimate cannabis businesses, thus resolving those issues.
NAR supports the rights of states and residents of those states to create laws aligned with state and resident interests. NAR supports allowing businesses that are properly registered and that are legitimate by state standards to have the ability to access banking services. NAR sent a letter of support to the cospsonsors, thanking them for introducing this important legislation and expressing our hope to see it passed into law in this Congress.