SAFE Banking Act Update

by Alan Hanson

Who would have thought that cannabis and UFO’s go together, well it may be more common than I
realize? In this instance, they go together in the House version of the FY National Defense Authorization
Act (NDAA). The NDAA is seen as must pass legislation as it sets spending for military pay and benefits,
defense operations and national-security programs for each fiscal year. On Thursday it passed the House
with large bi-partisan support on a vote of 316-113.

Due to the importance of this legislation, it is ripe for all sorts of amendments, 476 to be exact. One such
amendment creates a permanent Department of Defense office dedicated to studying UFO, or as the DoD
calls them, Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon. More importantly, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.)
successfully attached the SAFE Banking Act to NDAA.

Traditionally, the Senate has been the death of the SAFE Banking Act. In prior sessions, supporting the
cannabis industry was not a high republican priority. By attaching SAFE Banking to a military spending
bill, it may be seen as a greater risk for a republican to vote against military spending than to support of
the cannabis industry. However, in a strange twist, the democrats may be the biggest challenge this
session. Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, D-NY, introduced the Cannabis Administration and
Opportunity Act (CAOA), that would federally legalize cannabis. In introducing this bill, Senator
Schumer and the other co—sponsors have stated that they would not support any incremental cannabis
reform bill until the CAOA passed. Tt is unclear if a proposed SAFE Banking Act amendment will be
approved in the Senate.

As for now we wait and see and continue to help financial institutions develop cannabis banking
programs without support of Congress.