Cannabis reform at the federal level is making progress as the Senate Banking Committee prepares to vote on a bipartisan marijuana banking bill.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) mentioned that they are hopeful to announce something soon.
According to NBC, the markup process, which involves committee debates and amendments, is expected to take place the week of Sept. 25. This process determines if the bill will be recommended to the full Senate.
Many Republicans and Democrats on the committee have expressed support for the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, a priority for Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). However, Republican support is crucial for its success.
GOP Support? It’s A Go
Sen. Kevin Cramer, (R-ND), one of eight Republicans who signed on as a co-sponsor, believes the bill has a good chance of passing.
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) is also optimistic about its passage and said, “We’ve got enough votes to get it passed.” He added that there might be progress before the end of the month.
Other GOP colleagues supporting the bill include Sens. Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Susan Collins of Maine.
Democrats hope to introduce criminal justice components to the bill when it reaches the Senate floor. However, they might face opposition in the divided Congress. Advocates for cannabis reform emphasize the importance of creating opportunities for minority and women-run businesses and those affected by the war on drugs.
Cannabis Scheduling Changes
There is cautious optimism in the cannabis industry as news emerges that the Dept. of Health and Human Services will recommend rescheduling cannabis to ease federal restrictions. This change could benefit cannabis businesses by alleviating the burdensome IRS Code 280E and promoting cannabis research.