WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) led a bipartisan group of 23 Senators in a letter to U.S. Senate and House Leadership and all negotiators for the innovation and competitiveness package, urging them to include the bipartisan SAFE Banking Act in the final version of the bill.
Current federal law restricts legally operating cannabis businesses from accessing basic banking services and products, resulting in businesses being forced to conduct transactions only in cash. Because of this federally-imposed barrier, cannabis small businesses are repeatedly targeted by criminal actors and fall victim to cash-related safety risks, including growing incidents of theft, robbery, and violence. The SAFE Banking Act would finally allow licensed cannabis businesses operating in states like Nevada to have equal access to banking services.
The SAFE Banking Act has now passed the House six times, including most recently as a bipartisan amendment to the House-passed America COMPETES Act, but has not been taken up in the Senate despite broad bipartisan support.
“The SAFE Banking Act, as included in the House-passed America COMPETES Act, would allow banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions to offer banking services to legally-operating cannabis businesses without fear of punishment by federal regulators,” wrote the Senators. “Allowing cannabis businesses operating legally and in compliance with state law to access financial services without federal reprisal would address public safety and compliance challenges, helping communities reduce cash-motivated crimes.”
“Given the demonstrated broad support for this measure, we ask you to ensure that the text of the SAFE Banking Act remains in the forthcoming final conferenced version of the jobs and competitiveness bill when it comes to the House and Senate for final votes. This will help cannabis-related businesses, support innovation, create jobs, and strengthen public safety in our communities,” the Senators’ letter concluded.
The bipartisan letter was co-led by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and also signed by Senators Steve Daines (R-MT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Angus King (I-ME), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Patty Murray (D-WA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), and Chris Coons (D-DE).
Senator Rosen has been a leader in the fight to ensure cannabis small businesses have access to banking services. In March 2021, she helped introduce the SAFE Banking Act, and in November 2021, Rosen led a similar bipartisan letter requesting that SAFE Banking Act be included in the FY 22 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) after it passed via the House NDAA.
The full text of the letter can be found here.