Cannabis Safe Harbor

Create Cannabis Safe Harbor for Agents

PIA supports legislation to protect independent agents, brokers, and insurers against federal criminal prosecution and civil liability for those who engage in the business of insurance with cannabis-related enterprises in states that have legalized cannabis. 

Nearly every state has legalized the use of marijuana to some degree. Unfortunately, the insurance industry is potentially exposed to civil and criminal liability arising from the differences between the legal status of cannabis in federal and state law. To do their jobs effectively, insurance agents need protection from prosecution in the form of a comprehensive federal safe harbor for agents, brokers, and insurers that engage in the business of insurance with cannabis-related enterprises in states that have legalized cannabis.

PIA respects state insurance laws and seeks to protect independent agents from federal criminal prosecution for engaging in legitimate business activities.

To address this issue, in 2019, PIA helped develop the Clarifying Law Around Insurance of Marijuana (CLAIM) Act, which was reintroduced in the 117th Congress by Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ). The CLAIM Act provides protections for the insurance industry to conduct business with cannabis-related entities in states in which those entities are legal.

In September 2019, key parts of the CLAIM Act were merged with another bill, the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which was meant to similarly shield bankers from legal jeopardy for their role in providing financial and banking services to cannabis-related businesses. The essential provisions of the CLAIM Act were folded into the SAFE Banking Act, which passed the House in September 2019 but stalled in the Senate.

In 2021, the SAFE Banking Act was reintroduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D- CO) and sponsored by Reps. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Steve Stivers (R-OH), and Warren Davidson (R-OH), and Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT). As introduced, the SAFE Banking Act includes several key insurance pieces of the CLAIM Act. The bill will prevent federal criminal prosecution of and civil liability for agents, brokers, and insurers when engaging in the business of insurance in states that have legalized cannabis in some form.

PIA is making the passage of the SAFE Banking Act one of our top priorities this Congress.

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