Bipartisan Support for the SAFER Banking Act
Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT), the bill was approved with a 14-9 vote. This move comes a week after the bill was presented with revisions aimed at strengthening bipartisan support. Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) highlighted the importance of the bill, stating it would enhance safety for legal cannabis businesses and their communities.
Sen. Steve Daines, the leading GOP sponsor, clarified that the bill is not an endorsement for marijuana legalization, which he opposes. Instead, it addresses the risks associated with the all-cash model of legal cannabis businesses, making them vulnerable to theft, tax evasion, and organized crime.
Concerns and Amendments
During the committee’s review, several amendments were considered. Some focused on cannabis industry access to stock exchanges, banking regulations to prevent discriminatory enforcement, and broader justice-focused marijuana reforms. However, not all were adopted.
Notable amendments included Sen. Raphael Warnock’s (D-GA) proposal to sunset the SAFER Banking Act after five years, contingent on a report certifying its impact on the racial wealth gap and the War on Drugs’ economic consequences. Another amendment from Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) aimed to ensure federal regulators couldn’t pressure financial entities to deny services to lawful businesses unless they engaged in “unsafe and unsound practices.”
NEW: the SAFER Banking Act has passed the Committee with a bipartisan majority. Let’s get this bill to the floor to protect small businesses in the cannabis industry.
— Senate Banking and Housing Democrats (@SenateBanking) September 27, 2023
The Road Ahead: What’s Next for the Bill?
While the House has previously passed versions of this legislation, this is the Senate’s first lead on the matter. The journey to this vote has seen its challenges, with disagreements over provisions related to broad banking regulations. However, the revised SAFER Banking Act, released last week, is still subject to further changes. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) plans to incorporate legislation on state-level cannabis expungements and gun rights protection for marijuana consumers.
Industry and Advocacy Groups Rally Behind the Bill
Various groups, including the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp, have voiced their support for the SAFER Banking Act. They emphasize the urgent need for a solution to the challenges the cannabis industry faces due to prohibition. Additionally, the American Bankers Association and its state chapters, along with insurance and union organizations, have renewed their calls for the bill’s passage.
The Investment Landscape
Investors should remain cautious and keep an eye on the evolving political and regulatory landscape. To learn more on the investment landscape you can head over to The Wealthy Venture Capitalist. This development could have significant implications for investors looking to diversify their portfolios within emerging markets. The potential for revenue generation in this sector overall is worth watching for savvy investors.
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