What the SAFE Banking Act Means for Alabama Banks and the Cannabis Business


In an article published by the Birmingham Business Journal on November 15, Bert Spence discusses the SAFE Banking Act’s potential impact in Alabama.

“If both the SAFE Act passes at the federal level and Alabama legalizes some type of marijuana sales, then businesses who are in compliance with Alabama’s law would be able to obtain banking and insurance services that are currently unavailable,” Spence explains. “Marijuana remains a prohibited, controlled substance under federal law but the U.S. Department of Justice has adopted an informal policy of not prosecuting federal-law violations in this area if the activity is legal in the state where it occurs.”

Because it remains illegal under federal law, banks and insurance companies must refrain from facilitating marijuana commerce, and cannot provide services to cannabis industry businesses in any state. “The SAFE Act, if enacted, would offer protection for banks, but there’s obviously stigma behind this type of business. And that stigma might remain,” states Spence. “If both the federal and Alabama laws were to pass in their current forms, it would become the choice of the bank or insurance company as to whether to offer services to those potential customers.”

Subscribers of the Birmingham Business Journal can view the full article.

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