Congress is one step closer to resolving one of the very thorny issues concerning the legal marijuana business in the United States—access to banking because of its illegal status at the Federal level. The SAFE Banking Act of 2019 has reportedly passed the U.S. House of Representatives and must then be passed by the Senate. Of course, the bill will still have to be signed by President Trump, which may not be a sure thing. He seems to change his mind on this issue frequently, and we are approaching an election year. There is also speculation that because of the current impeachment controversy in the Congress concerning President Trump that very little will be accomplished from a legislative perspective—that could also impact passage of patent eligible subject matter reform and drug pricing legislation. A summary of the Safe Banking Act of 2019 states:
This bill generally prohibits a federal banking regulator from penalizing a depository institution for providing banking services to a legitimate marijuana-related business. Specifically, the bill prohibits a federal banking regulator from (1) terminating or limiting the deposit insurance or share insurance of a depository institution solely because the institution provides financial services to a legitimate marijuana-related business; (2) prohibiting or otherwise discouraging a depository institution from offering financial services to such a business; (3) recommending, incentivizing, or encouraging a depository institution not to offer financial services to an account holder solely because the account holder is affiliated with such a business; (4) taking any adverse or corrective supervisory action on a loan made to a person solely because the person either owns such a business or owns real estate or equipment leased or sold to such a business; or (5) penalizing a depository institution for processing or collecting payments for such a business.
As specified by the bill, a depository institution shall not, under federal law, be liable or subject to forfeiture for providing a loan or other financial services to a legitimate marijuana-related business.
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