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House Members Strongly Urge Senate Banking Committee to Make “Legal” Cannabis SAFE for Banking

On January 21, 2020, the four lead bipartisan sponsors of H.R. 1595, the SAFE Banking Act, U.S. Reps. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, Denny Heck, D-Wash., and Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, sent a letter to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho asking him to advance the Senate version of the bill in the interest of "public safety concerns resulting from marijuana-related transactions being forced outside the regulated banking system." The SAFE Banking Act passed the House in September and has been pending consideration by the Senate Banking Committee since.

Understanding that Sen. Crapo opposes any legalization of marijuana, the congressmen argue "[e]xercising caution before adding limitations to the legislation's safe harbor that impose unworkable burdens on financial institutions, or would jeopardize the larger, bipartisan effort to address public safety concerns associated with cash-only transactions." They also emphasized that the SAFE Banking Act "does not change the legal status of marijuana and is focused solely on taking cash off the streets and aligning federal banking laws with the decisions states are already making regarding cannabis."

In conclusion, the congressmen advocate that the SAFE Banking Act is "an important step toward making our communities safer and providing regulatory certainty to banks, credit unions, and other firms - many of which are not directly involved in the marijuana industry - which are trying to operate their businesses in a safe and legal way."

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About this Author

Ilan A. Nieuchowicz Shareholder Carlton Fields Florida  Real Estate, Litigation

Ilan Nieuchowicz is a real estate and business trial lawyer. He represents large financial institutions, equipment loan and leasing companies, major real estate title insurance companies, real estate owners, investors, investment trusts, developers, property managers and management companies, owners and managers of medical and healthcare related real estate and hospitality related businesses.

As a former business broker and transaction attorney, Ilan has a uniquely practical perspective on business and real estate related matters. He has significant experience in real estate and...

Merrick Gross commercial litigation lawyer Carlton Fields

Rick Gross has more than 30 years of legal experience serving a variety of business clients. His multifaceted commercial litigation practice includes aspects of banking, real estate, securities, business torts, and creditors’ rights, including bankruptcy. Rick litigates cases involving such claims in federal and state courts in Florida and throughout the United States. Rick also handles commercial loan workouts and foreclosures involving all types of real property including raw land, retail, office, multifamily, and condominiums throughout the country. 

Rick is a former president of the Dade County (Miami) Bar Association, former chair of The Florida Bar Business Law Section, and a former chair of The Florida Bar Constitutional Judiciary Committee. He also is a former and current chair of a number of ABA Section of Litigation and ABA Business Law Section Committees, and a former member of the Council of the ABA Section of Litigation. He currently serves as the chair of Carlton Fields' National Business Litigation Section.