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Measure Includes Protections for Insurers To Do Business with Cannabis Industry

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a bipartisan vote on Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R.1996) as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023 (H.R.7900). The issue is a policy priority for the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), which cheered the House action.

The amendment, proposed by Representative Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo), contained a provision (Section 5424(c) Protections for Insurers) that provides officers, directors, and employees of an insurer with protection from liability to any federal law or regulation if they solely engage in the business of insurance or invest any income derived from the business of insurance while engaged in business with a company located in a state that allows the cultivation, production, manufacture, sale, transportation, display, dispensing, distribution, or purchase of cannabis.

IRI’s called for passage of this legislation in its 2022 Federal Retirement Security Blueprint. IRI sought enactment of this legislation because the lack of clarity about liability discourages insurers from offering retirement plans and individual retirement accounts to workers at legally operating cannabis companies. The amended NDAA with the SAFE Banking Act now moves to the Senate.

The Senate Armed Services Committee passed their version of the NDAA in June, but that did not include the SAFE Banking Act. IRI will advocate for its inclusion when the full Senate considers its version. If the Senate does not include it, the House and Senate will have to negotiate and conference the bill to resolve differences. The NDAA is considered a must-pass bill before Congress adjourns in December.

“The strong, bipartisan vote to approve Rep. Perlmutter’s amendment is a significant step toward expanding workplace retirement saving opportunities for the growing number of workers in the cannabis industry,” said Paul Richman, IRI Chief Government and Political Affairs Officer. “We appreciate Rep. Perlmutter’s leadership and work to expand opportunities for more workers to save for retirement. We now call upon the Senate to include the SAFE Banking Act when it considers the NDAA.”

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Contact: Dan Zielinski

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