In our March 15 post, we discussed the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019 (H.R. 1595), which would, among other things, limit federal banking regulators from taking action against banks providing services to cannabis businesses operating legally under state or tribal law. On March 28, the bill passed the House Financial Services Committee by a vote of 45-15 with three amendments added, the most important of which would apply the protections to insurers as well as to depository institutions. The bill now goes to the full House for a vote. While it is anticipated that the House will adopt the bill, there remains a relatively low chance to pass the Senate, although the environment there is subject to change.
In addition, the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act was reintroduced in both the House and the Senate of the 116th Congress on April 4. The bill, which appeared in the last Congress, would amend the Controlled Substances Act to protect people complying with state legal cannabis laws from federal intervention.
While there is bi-partisan support for both bills, whether they will proceed, and how quickly, especially in the Senate, remains unclear. It does appear that President Trump would be willing to sign one or both of the bills into law, if they passed, but this is likely something that will be subject to the final texts adopted.