WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Andy Barr’s amendments to make it easier for the hemp and CBD industries to access banking and financial services passed the House today as part of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595). The amendments would provide clarity for financial services firms who want to work with this booming industry but are unclear of the rules-of-the-road following the legalization of industrial hemp in 2018.
The bill would allow banks, insurance companies, card processors and other financial services companies to serve legally-operating cannabis businesses. Congressman Barr’s provisions apply the same safe-harbors and clarifications in the broader bill explicitly to hemp and CBD businesses.
“At a time when hemp-related businesses are booming, many Kentucky hemp farmers and businesses are experiencing roadblocks when it comes to accessing banking and financial services,” said Congressman Barr. “While banks and credit unions want to serve these businesses, they often have concerns about possible legal implications. My provisions will give financial institutions the confidence they need to provide services to hemp-related businesses. These provisions provide much-needed clarification for financial services companies looking to enter the hemp market, and provide hemp businesses with access to capital, credit and payment services.”
Specifically, Congressman Barr’s hemp provisions would:
• Explicitly apply the safe harbors throughout the bill to hemp/CBD businesses, and make needed clarifications that banks don’t need to file suspicious activity reports solely because a transaction relates to hemp or hemp-derived products; and
• Require guidance from the federal banking regulators confirming the legality of hemp, and direct them to provide best practices for financial institutions serving businesses involved in hemp/CBD business.
“This legislation is as important to hemp farmers and CBD producers as was the Farm Bill of 2018,” said Bob Estes, chief executive officer of Lexington’s Daddy Burt Hemp Company. “Thank you to Congressman Barr for writing and promoting hemp amendments to the SAFE Act.”
“Congressman Barr’s amendments will make it easier for hemp farmers to make a living,” said Brian Furnish, an 8th generation Kentucky farmer. “I applaud Congressman Barr for his work on this issue of growing importance to Kentucky’s farm community.”