HJR 23: Supporting the passage by the United States Senate of the SAFE Banking Act of 2019 relating to cannabis-related legitimate businesses' access to financial services.
00 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 23 01 Supporting the passage by the United States Senate of the SAFE Banking Act of 2019 02 relating to cannabis-related legitimate businesses' access to financial services. 03 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 04 WHEREAS, on November 4, 2014, residents of the state voted to legalize cannabis, 05 approving Ballot Measure No. 2, "An Act to tax and regulate the production, sale, and use of 06 marijuana"; and 07 WHEREAS the state has prioritized the federal cannabis enforcement objectives 08 identified in the August 29, 2013, memorandum from the United States Department of Justice 09 to all United States Attorneys, including preventing the distribution of cannabis to minors, 10 preventing revenue from the sale of cannabis from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and 11 cartels, preventing the diversion of cannabis from states where cannabis is legal in some form 12 under state law to other states, preventing state-authorized cannabis activity from being used 13 as a pretext for the trafficking of illegal drugs or other illegal activity, preventing violence and 14 the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of cannabis, preventing drugged driving 15 and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with cannabis 16 use, preventing the growing of cannabis on public land and the attendant public safety and
01 environmental dangers posed by cannabis production on public land, and preventing cannabis 02 possession or use on federal property; and 03 WHEREAS the state has implemented regulations that respect and support the federal 04 priorities listed in the August 29, 2013, memorandum from the United States Department of 05 Justice; and 06 WHEREAS, on January 16, 2018, Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth and the 07 attorneys general of 18 other states, districts, and territories sent a letter urging the United 08 States Congress to advance legislation allowing states that have legalized medical or 09 recreational use of cannabis to bring legal cannabis-related commerce into the banking 10 system; and 11 WHEREAS, on January 18, 2018, United States Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan 12 Sullivan joined 14 other senators from around the country in submitting a letter to the Director 13 of the United States Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network 14 expressing continuing support for 2014 Financial Crimes Enforcement Network guidance on 15 Bank Secrecy Act expectations regarding cannabis-related businesses; and 16 WHEREAS, on March 7, 2019, after meeting with industry stakeholders in Alaska, 17 United States Congressman Don Young, Co-Chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, 18 signed on as a cosponsor of H.R. 1595, the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 19 2019, also referred to as the SAFE Banking Act of 2019; and 20 WHEREAS, on May 8, 2019, Alaska Attorney General Kevin G. Clarkson and the 21 attorneys general of 37 other states, districts, and territories sent a letter urging the United 22 States Congress to advance legislation allowing states that have legalized medical or adult use 23 of cannabis to bring legal cannabis-related commerce into the banking system; and 24 WHEREAS, on September 25, 2019, United States Congressman Don Young voted 25 with a bipartisan majority in the United States House of Representatives, passing the SAFE 26 Banking Act of 2019 and clearing the Act for consideration in the Senate; and 27 WHEREAS sec. 1(b) of the SAFE Banking Act of 2019 explains that "[t]he purpose 28 of the Act is to increase public safety by ensuring access to financial services to cannabis- 29 related legitimate businesses and service providers and reducing the amount of cash at such 30 businesses"; and 31 WHEREAS the SAFE Banking Act of 2019 provides, among other protections, a safe
01 harbor for depository institutions for providing financial services to a cannabis-related 02 legitimate business or service provider; and 03 WHEREAS the SAFE Banking Act of 2019 provides that "[f]or the purposes of 04 sections 1956 and 1957 [money laundering] of title 18, United States Code, and all other 05 provisions of Federal law, the proceeds from a transaction involving activities of a cannabis- 06 related legitimate business or service provider shall not be considered proceeds from an 07 unlawful activity solely because . . . the transaction involves proceeds from a cannabis-related 08 legitimate business or service provider"; and 09 WHEREAS the SAFE Banking Act of 2019 provides that depository institutions or 10 insurers that provide financial services to cannabis-related legitimate businesses or service 11 providers and the officers, directors, and employees of depository institutions or insurers may 12 not be held liable under any federal law or regulation solely for providing the financial service 13 or for further investing any income derived from the financial services; and 14 WHEREAS the SAFE Banking Act of 2019 is not an endorsement of any state's, 15 district's, or territory's specific approach to the legalization of cannabis-related transactions 16 and is in no way an endorsement of the legalization of medical or retail cannabis in 17 jurisdictions that choose not to legalize medical or retail cannabis; and 18 WHEREAS, without federal legislation allowing states that have legalized medical or 19 adult use of cannabis to bring legal cannabis-related commerce into the banking system, the 20 tracking of revenue for taxation and regulatory compliance purposes is more difficult; and 21 WHEREAS the inability to properly track the billions of dollars in legal cannabis- 22 related sale proceeds compromises the safety and soundness of the nation's financial system 23 by allowing the unmonitored entry of illicit funds into the financial system; and 24 WHEREAS the threat to public safety increases with cash-intensive businesses 25 because cash-intensive businesses are often the targets of criminal activity; and 26 WHEREAS the cannabis industry continues to grow rapidly, with analysts estimating 27 the current industry value at $8,300,000,000, projected to increase to $25,000,000,000 by 28 2025; and 29 WHEREAS, regardless of policy views on states' permitting the medical or adult use 30 of cannabis, the current situation necessitates federal rules that provide for bringing legal 31 cannabis-related commerce into the banking system;
01 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature urges the federal government to 02 adopt the SAFE Banking Act of 2019 or similar legislation that would provide a safe harbor 03 for depository institutions that provide financial products or services to legal cannabis-related 04 businesses or service providers in states that have implemented laws and regulations 05 legalizing cannabis for medical or adult use. 06 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Donald J. Trump, President 07 of the United States; the Honorable Lisa Murkowski and the Honorable Dan Sullivan, U.S. 08 Senators, and the Honorable Don Young, U.S. Representative, members of the Alaska 09 delegation in Congress; and all other members of the 116th United States Congress.