Speaking before the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) this week, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) said he would not commit to considering cannabis banking legislation until the Department of Justice (DOJ) resolves the legal uncertainty between state and federal marijuana laws. "As long as cannabis is illegal under federal law, it seems to me to be difficult for us to resolve the issue," said Chairman Crapo.
In April, Attorney General William Barr suggested in a Senate hearing that he is open to considering legislation to exempt states from federal laws that conflict with marijuana programs legalized under state law.
The House could possibly vote on a proposal to lift the prohibition on cannabis banking, known as the SAFE Banking Act (HR 1595), by the end of the month. The bill has 152 cosponsors in the House, but Chairman Crapo’s remarks suggest it has long odds of reaching the Senate floor. Last month, Senators Corey Gardner (R-Colorado) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) introduced the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act which would exempt marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Acts in states where marijuana has been legalized. The STATES Act would resolve the disparity among state and federal marijuana laws and lift the federal prohibition on cannabis banking. The STATES Act could receive bipartisan support in Congress and Senator Gardner has indicated President Trump would likely sign the bill if it reached his desk.
RCRC remains in strong support of the enactment of the SAFE Act as it continues to be a top federal priority. To date, the RCRC Board of Directors has not considered the STATES Act or other similar legislation.