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Does Cannabis Banking Legislation Have a Chance in the Senate?


While there was much celebration surrounding the historic banking legislation vote in the U.S House of Representatives – and with good reason – it’s important to remember that the bill has only completed part of its journey.

The next hurdle for the bill is the U.S. Senate. Political pundits are all over the board when it comes to predictions on this, because not only is this new territory for politics in general, but in case you haven’t noticed, there is a lot going on in Washington D.C. currently.

“The chances of the SAFE Banking Act being signed into law by the end of the term are better than 50/50,” Don Murphy, Director of Federal Policies at the Marijuana Policy Project, told The Marijuana Times. “By the end of the year, less than 50/50 [there only being about 3 weeks left in this year’s session). While this might be one of our highest priorities, it is not near the top of either party’s to-do list. Perlmutter’s yes. Gardner’s yes. (Notice that passage in the House earned little ink in the local Cap Hill papers. Impeachment has sucked all the air/interest out of the room. The Ds are on offense and the Rs are on defense. No time for anything else.)”

Before the legislation can even hope to reach the floor for a vote by the full Senate, it must survive the committee process; in this case, the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, chaired by Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID). 

“Chairman Crapo indicated he wants to get a cannabis banking bill marked up by the end of the year, and we anticipate it will be similar to the SAFE Banking Act,” said Cannabis Trade Federation strategic advisor and former Congressman Carlos Curbelo. “This week’s historic bipartisan vote in the House undoubtedly builds momentum for Senate action. There is a growing sense of urgency behind resolving the cannabis banking problem because it would greatly improve public safety and increase transparency into the rapidly expanding state-legal cannabis industry. We are confident the Senate will concur with an overwhelming number of Democrats and Republicans in the House that this industry deserves the same access to banking services as all others.”

While what’s going on with Trump and the upcoming election may be out of our control, we can continue to put pressure on Senators to at least take a look at the banking bill. With everything the federal government is involved in, eventually time will need to be devoted to something other than Trump.

Call, write or contact your Senators on the Internet. Only constituents will be able to keep this issue in front of their reps in Washington D.C. in the midst of all that is going on. The progress is slow and sometimes it seems like it’s too slow to make much of a difference, but the House vote proves that issues are advancing and that the momentum still belongs to those in the cannabis community.