On March 23, Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Or.) and Steve Daines (R-Mt.) re-introduced the SAFE Banking Act. As noted previously here, the SAFE Banking Act would increase access to banking services for cannabis-related businesses. The bill would provide safe harbor and other protections under federal law to financial institutions and insurers that provide services to cannabis-related legitimate businesses. While the bill passed the House last September, it ultimately failed in the Senate.
Now, the SAFE Banking Act has been re-introduced with 29 co-sponsors, including bipartisan support. In addition to lead co-sponsor Senators Merkley and Daines, notable co-sponsors include California’s Alex Padilla (D-Ca.) as well as Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Republican senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak.), and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wy.). All told, there were seven Republican co-sponsors.
Given the new composition of the Senate, the bipartisan support that the bill has already garnered is a good sign of the prospect of the proposal’s potential success. Of course, changes are possible throughout the legislative process. Perkins Coie attorneys are monitoring developments of this proposal and other bills affecting the cannabis industry at the federal and state levels.