Bipartisan Group of U.S. Senators Urges Congressional Leaders to Keep SAFE Banking Act in Defense Spending Package

Lawmakers are encouraging members of the Armed Services Committees in the House and Senate to keep the banking legislation in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022.

Bipartisan Group of U.S. Senators Urges Congressional Leaders to Keep SAFE Banking Act in Defense Spending Package

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators have authored a letter urging Congressional leaders to keep the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022.

RELATED: U.S. House Adds SAFE Banking to Defense Spending Package

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) is leading the effort, which calls on members of the Armed Services Committees in the House and Senate to pass the banking legislation, according to a press release.

The SAFE Banking Act, which has passed the U.S. House of Representatives five times, most recently in September as an amendment to the NDAA, would allow state-licensed cannabis businesses to access banking services despite federal prohibition, which currently restricts cannabis operators from using basic financial services like checking accounts and credit cards.

The Nov. 23 letter, which is also signed by Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI), Angus King (I-ME), Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ), urges leadership in the Armed Services Committees in both chambers of Congress to retain the SAFE Banking Act in the final conference version of the NDAA, which will ultimately be considered by the full House and Senate.

“In anticipation of the Senate passing the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) following the Thanksgiving state work period, we, as members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, write to request that the final conference bill retain the text of the SAFE Banking Act of 2021,” the Senators wrote. “The House of Representatives has passed the SAFE Banking Act five times, most recently as an amendment to the NDAA, and we ask you to ensure that the text of that amendment remains in the final conference version of the bill to be considered by the House and the Senate.”

Last month, the U.S. Cannabis Council hosted a virtual briefing titled “UNSAFE Banking & Cannabis,” where several cannabis entrepreneurs and a security expert shared firsthand accounts of how a lack of banking services has impacted them by creating public safety concerns and social equity challenges in the growing industry.

RELATED: 6 Takeaways From U.S. Cannabis Council’s ‘UNSAFE Banking’ Briefing

Rosen and company argue in their letter that the SAFE Banking Act would alleviate some of these concerns.

“Enacting the SAFE Banking Act via the NDAA would support a rapidly growing industry that creates jobs, supports small businesses, and raises revenue in states that have chosen to legalize cannabis, while reducing safety risks,” they wrote.