State attorneys general (AG) are continuing their push for cannabis banking reform, underscoring the need for action to promote public health and safety in legal cannabis markets. On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of 22 state AGs sent a letter to Congress urging passage of the Secure And Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act, coinciding with the bills’ advancement through the Senate Banking Committee and on to the Senate floor. The act would create a safe harbor for financial institutions, which provide services to state-legal cannabis businesses or service providers, enabling the industry to access basic financial services more easily. The letter, led by the AGs of Maryland, Washington D.C., and Oklahoma, highlighted ongoing risks associated with the industry’s cash-only status, including criminal activity. They argued that the bill is urgently needed to bring stability, regulatory oversight, and transparency to state cannabis markets. For industry stakeholders, the mounting support from state law enforcement leaders is a heartening sign of momentum. Although numerous previous versions of the SAFE Banking Act have stalled, pressure is growing for federal lawmakers to implement common sense policies aligned with state markets. Keep an eye on Troutman Pepper’s Cannabis Communications Newsletter for updates as this critical legislation advances.
Our Cannabis Practice provides advice on issues related to applicable federal and state law. Marijuana remains an illegal controlled substance under federal law.