Cannabis Safe Harbor Passes House as Part of Defense Bill

The Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, a 2021 PIA top priority, passed the U.S. House 316-113 on September 23rd as an amendment to H.R. 4350, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), giving it a chance of passing in this Congress.

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 would also make it easier for banks to offer financial services to the cannabis industry. PIA worked with a coalition of industry allies in support of this legislation, successfully ensuring that key insurance-specific protections were included.

Nearly every state has legalized cannabis to some degree. PIA’s position is respectful of state insurance laws; we seek to protect independent agents from criminal prosecution for engaging in business activities that are legal according to state law.

Legislative Outlook

PIA actively advocated for the inclusion of the SAFE Banking Act in the defense bill. The  SAFE Banking Act passed the House as a standalone bill earlier this spring, but the Senate ran out of time to consider it using the regular Senate procedure. In addition, Senate leadership expressed a preference to move SAFE Banking as part of a more comprehensive cannabis package, slowing down the process. For that reason, the House identified the NDAA as a suitable “must pass” vehicle to which to add the SAFE Banking Act so that it would have a chance of passing this Congress.

PIA will encourage the Senate to pass the NDAA with the SAFE Banking Act included.