Thursday, the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019 (SAFE Banking Act of 2019) advanced by a vote of 45 to 15 in the House Financial Services Committee. The Bill (H.R. 1595) protects financial institutions from regulatory penalties for servicing the cannabis industry – both for seed-to-sale cannabis-related businesses (CRB) and businesses that service the cannabis industry such as consultants and hydroponic bulb manufactures.
The bill offers a safe harbor that prohibits regulators from discouraging financial institutions from serving the cannabis industry. It also prohibits regulators from incentivizing or encouraging financial institutions to not bank CRBs, downgrade services to a CRB, or exit a relationship with a CRB based solely on the fact that they operate in the cannabis industry. Additionally, the bill prohibits examiners from taking adverse or supervisory action on a loan made to a CRB, service provider, employee, owner, operator, or an owner/operator of a real estate business leasing to a CRB or a service provider just because they are involved in the cannabis industry.