This story was originally published in the Cannabis Wire Daily newsletter, which is sent to subscribers every weekday morning. Subscribe today.
Will the SAFE Banking Act pick up steam again this fall?
Late last year, the Act stalled at the 11th hour, with the bill yet again failing to see a vote in the Senate, despite passing out of the House multiple times over the years. However, Congressional sources have told Cannabis Wire that the momentum in December 2022 is what has them “optimistic” for this year’s run at passage.
The Act, which would provide “safe harbor” for financial institutions that want to work with cannabis businesses, would also have other ripple effects, like encouraging broader involvement from the insurance industry.
One major financial services company and a major insurance company have registered to lobby on the SAFE Banking Act, a Cannabis Wire analysis of recent disclosures found. And, as Cannabis Wire has previously reported, a rising number of financial and insurance entities have lobbied on SAFE and on other cannabis-related legislation, mostly focused on risk reduction.
The new names are Fidelity Investments, which registered to lobby on the “SAFE Banking Act, issues impacting the regulation of financial institutions.”
And Liberty Mutual registered to lobby on the “Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2023 – S. 1323/H.R. 2891.”
“As it stands, the lack of available financial services has forced many legal businesses across the country to operate on a cash-only basis,” Jimi Grande, senior vice president for federal and political affairs for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies said in a statement when the Act was reintroduced in April.
“That creates an attractive target for criminal activity and added risk for those businesses. Whatever one’s opinion on marijuana, it’s important for our communities and our economies that these legal businesses are able to operate safely and obtain the much-needed financial protection insurance provides.”
Meanwhile, a couple of other first-time registrations caught our eye.
Alticor, which owns Amway, registered to lobby on “H.R. 1629 – Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2023.”
And GTI, a multistate operator with RISE-branded stores and operations in states like Illinois, New Jersey, and Virginia, registered to lobby on “federal cannabis legislation related to banking, tax, and capital market access; Farm Bill policies related to hemp.”