As a recreational cannabis bill in the New Jersey legislature stalls, federal legislation directed at expanding the cannabis industry’s access to banking and insurance services advances in Congress. On March 28, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services approved H.R. 1595, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. The bill was introduced to allow the cannabis industry to have access to financial services and to enhance public safety by reducing the industry’s reliance on cash. It provides a safe harbor for financial services companies, including banks, credit unions, and insurers, to serve cannabis-related businesses operating under state law without the threat of regulatory backlash or criminal prosecution.
The House Committee voted 45 to 15 to advance the legislation to the full House. Similar bills have been introduced in every Congress since 2013, but there may be momentum in this session or the next to pass such a bill through both the House and the Senate. The House bill presently has 140 Democratic and 12 Republican co-sponsors.
We are tracking the progress of the SAFE Banking Act as the bill advances towards a floor vote in the House.
Robert Vacchiano is an associate in Saiber LLC’s Insurance and Reinsurance practice group. Robert concentrates his practice on representing insurers and reinsurers in a variety of complex litigation matters. In addition, Robert has assisted clients in disputes involving breach of contract, fraud, discrimination, the Federal Civil Rights Act, consumer protection statutes, professional malpractice, construction defects, software licensing, land use, bankruptcy, and pension benefits.