Letter from Senate Armed Services Committee Members Urges Committee Leaders to Keep House-Passed Bipartisan Bill Allowing Legal Cannabis Businesses to Access Critical Banking Services in Final Version of NDAA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) is leading a bipartisan letter today of Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) members urging leaders of the Armed Services Committees in the House and Senate to keep the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act in the final conference version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 (NDAA). Current federal law restricts legally operating businesses from accessing basic banking services and products such as depository and checking accounts, credit cards, and checks, resulting in businesses being forced to operate as cash-only. The SAFE Banking Act would allow banking access to licensed cannabis businesses operating in states like Nevada that have legalized the sale of marijuana.

The bipartisan and broadly popular bill has passed the House of Representatives five times, most recently as an amendment to the NDAA in September. The House passed the SAFE Banking Act as standalone legislation by a 220-vote margin in April, with support from more than three-quarters of House members, including a majority of both Republicans and Democrats.

The letter in support of including this bipartisan legislation in the final NDAA is also signed by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Angus King (I-ME), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Mark Kelly (D-AZ). The full text of the letter can be found here.

“​​In anticipation of the Senate passing the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) following the Thanksgiving state work period, we, as members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, write to request that the final conference bill retain the text of the SAFE Banking Act of 2021. The House of Representatives has passed the SAFE Banking Act five times, most recently as an amendment to the NDAA, and we ask you to ensure that the text of that amendment remains in the final conference version of the bill to be considered by the House and the Senate,” wrote the Senators.

“The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act), as included in the House-passed NDAA, 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. More than thirty states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use, and sixteen allow adult recreational use. However, financial institutions are often reluctant to transact with cannabis-related businesses, even in states that have some form of legalized cannabis, due to legal and regulatory risks arising from inconsistent federal and state laws,” the Senators’ letter continued. “Enacting the SAFE Banking Act via the NDAA would support a rapidly growing industry that creates jobs, supports small businesses, and raises revenue in states that have chosen to legalize cannabis, while reducing safety risks.”

Senator Rosen has repeatedly helped introduce the SAFE Banking Act and been a vocal advocate for federal action that treats Nevada’s legally operating cannabis businesses fairly.

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