US Senators Introduce Bipartisan Marijuana Banking Bill, Credit Union National Association Announces Support

A bipartisan group of senators have introduced the SAFER Banking Act, an update on the SAFE Banking Act.

The Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act was introduced on Wednesday. Co-sponsors of the bill include Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Steve Daines, R-Mont., Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., and Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Bob Menendez, D-N.J.

The SAFER Banking Act would offer federal protections for banks, credit unions and other financial institutions accepting deposits, extending credit, or providing payment services to an individual or business engaged in cannabis related commerce in states where such activity is legal, so long as they are compliant with all other applicable laws and regulations. It also provides a safe harbor to credit unions and employees who are not aware if their members or customers are involved in cannabis businesses.

In a letter sent today to the bill’s sponsors, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) announced their support

“This important legislation will bring consistency and common sense to federal law in the area of banking regulation where it intersects with the country’s legal cannabis businesses,” the letter reads. “Credit unions exist to serve the financial services needs of their members, but the disparate treatment of production, distribution, sale, and use of cannabis under federal law and some state laws has discouraged them from providing services to businesses throughout the supply chain in states where cannabis is legal.”

Senator Schumer says that “This agreement allows cannabis businesses that have traditionally operated in cash to finally have the opportunity to accept credit and debit cards, allowing them to grow their businesses, pay their employees, protect their customers and ensure public safety.” He says that “For too long, the federal government has continued to punish marijuana users and business owners.”

Senator Cory Cooker said that this bill “will take cannabis banking out of the shadows and give access to the banking system to thousands of small businesses.”

The Senate Banking Committee is expected to consider the measure on September 27.

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