Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, and banks are required to comply with federal law and regulations.
In September 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019, known as The Safe Banking Act. The Act openly permits banks to work with cannabis businesses without fear of federal banking enforcement actions.
The Act’s purpose is “to increase public safety by ensuring access to financial services to cannabis-related legitimate businesses and service providers and reducing the amount of cash at such businesses.”
While the legislation died in the Senate, the House later included parts of the Act within a COVID-19 stimulus bill, but Senate Republicans stripped the Act’s language from the stimulus bill. As many states deemed cannabis as “essential businesses” during the pandemic, the Senate’s refusal to take action and help small businesses was a lost opportunity for everyone.