National Law Review Article: Cannabis Banking; The SAFE Banking Act 2.0’s Status, Key Modifications, and Prospects

Here’s the introduction to their piece published 2 April 2021


In September 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019”,1 the first stand-alone cannabis legislation to be approved by the House of Representatives. Earlier this month, revised versions of the bill were introduced in the House and Senate “to reform federal cannabis laws and reduce the public safety risk in communities across the country.”2

Current Status

Representatives Ed Perlmutter (D-CO-7), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY-7), Steve Stivers (R-OH-15), and Warren Davidson (R-OH-8) introduced the “SAFE Banking Act of 2021”3 on 18 March. To-date, they have recruited an additional 120 co-sponsors, including 16 additional Republicans. In the 116th Congress, the bill had 202 additional co-sponsors, including 25 additional Republicans, and was approved by a vote of 321-103 (including 102 Republicans).

A nearly identical bill4 was introduced in the Senate on 23 March by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT). Senator Daines has replaced former Senator Gardner as the lead Republican co-sponsor. The current Senate bill has 29 additional co-sponsors, including six Republicans in addition to Daines, three of which are first-time co-sponsors: Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Senator Daines himself. In the last Congress, the Senate version of the bill6 had only five Republican co-sponsors.

The bill is supported by major financial services trade associations, such as the American Financial Services Association and the Independent Community Bankers Association, as well as major cannabis and hemp trade associations, including the U.S. Cannabis Council, the Minority Cannabis Business Association, and the U.S. Hemp Roundtable.

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