The Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, H.R. 1996, a PIA top priority, passed the U.S. House this evening by a vote of 321-101.
The SAFE Banking Act would protect insurance agents and carriers from federal prosecution for doing business with cannabis-related enterprises in states in which such businesses are legal. The bill also makes it easier for banks to offer financial services to the cannabis industry. PIA has been working with a coalition of industry allies in support of this legislation, and we successfully ensured that key insurance-specific protections were included in the bill. Last week, PIA reiterated our support for the legislation ahead of its consideration in the House.
Nearly every state has legalized cannabis to some degree. PIA views its position as respectful of state insurance laws; PIA and our members seek to protect independent agents from criminal prosecution for engaging in business activities that are legal pursuant to state law.
The bill passed the House with strong bipartisan support in the last Congress but stalled in the Senate. In the 117th Congress, by contrast, the Senate is likely to view this bill more favorably due to its makeup. That said, Senate leadership has expressed a preference to move this legislation as part of a comprehensive cannabis package, which could slow the process down.
If a comprehensive cannabis package fails to pass the Senate, PIA will advocate for the SAFE Banking Act to pass either on its own or as part of any moving legislative effort during the 117th Congress.