The Push to (Finally) Reform Cannabis Banking Laws

Cannabis Business with an open sign in the window

Table of Contents:

Developments of the SAFE Banking Act
Other Developments in Cannabis Banking Laws
Public Support for Cannabis Banking
Legal Representation for your Cannabis Business

Here’s a run-down of legislation that has been proposed and that the Cannabis industry should keep an eye on. The first and most promising is the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act or the SAFE Banking Act

In the current form, which has passed the House of Representatives, SAFE Banking would provide a “safe harbor” for regulated financial institutions to work with legal cannabis businesses. 

Developments in the SAFE Banking Act 

The SAFE Banking Act didn’t stand a chance in the Senate for years, but there is renewed momentum behind it now. Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, has taken a personal interest in pushing the bill, and appears to have enough bipartisan support for the basic concept of SAFE Banking (nine Senate Republicans have co-sponsored it).  

However, some Senators on the left want to expand the bill’s scope. 

For example, Cory Booker has said, “I hope to see a final bill soon that would not only allow small and diverse cannabis businesses access to the U.S. banking system, but also expand and support expungement programs in states that have legalized cannabis to address some of the harms our failed marijuana policies have done to marginalized communities.” 

If this kind of “SAFE-plus” expansion happens, the support of republicans could evaporate.

Other Developments in Cannabis Banking Laws

In addition to the SAFE Act, two other bills could be part of the discussion: the Harnessing Opportunities by Pursuing Expungement (HOPE) Act, and the Capital Lending and Investment for Marijuana Businesses (CLIMB) Act. These have been offered in the House of Representatives with some bipartisan support and could be rolled into a “SAFE-plus” law. 

The HOPE Act would allow states to access federal funds to pay for the expungement of the criminal records for non-violent cannabis offenders. 

The CLIMB Act would clear any “public or private” sources of capital to invest in “legitimate” marijuana related businesses. It would also amend the Securities and Exchange Act to allow national stock exchanges to list cannabis companies. 

 The guts of either or both of these could end up in a compromise “SAFE-plus” bill.

U.S. Support for Reform of Cannabis Banking Laws

As cannabis legalization becomes more common at the state level, public opinion on cannabis-related businesses continues to evolve. Currently, The American Bankers Association recently highlighted the results of a national survey that found 66% of adults in the United States support the SAFE Banking Act to provide basic banking services in the 38 states where marijuana is legalized to varying degrees. 

If you work or own a business in the cannabis industry, you understand the necessity for legal protection and effective representation. The medical marijuana attorneys at Norwood Law Firm are educated and up-to-date on the latest developments on state and federal cannabis laws. Contact us today for effective and aggressive legal representation.