Cannabis News of Note for the Week:
Politico Pro Cannabis (12/1): Luetkemeyer Wants the OG SAFE Act Back (paywalled newsletter, text below)
Politico Pro Cannabis (12/1): LUETKEMEYER WANTS THE OG SAFE ACT BACK
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), a member of the House Financial Services Committee and key figure in the cannabis banking bill negotiations, wants the Senate to go back to scratch on changes to the legislation.
“I’m very disappointed in the Senate’s actions to date,” Luetkemeyer told Natalie on Wednesday.
Background: Luetkemeyer was key in adding language into the bill addressing “Operation Choke Point” — an Obama-era policy that encouraged banks to not do business with certain controversial industries like gun shops. That language came under fire from Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) in a Senate hearing earlier this year and resulted in a new bill — the SAFER Banking Act — introduced this fall.
“I’ve told them point blank, if they mess around with the language too much, we’ll kill it when it gets to the House,” Luetkemeyer said. He wants the Senate to send a redlined version of his own bill back to him. “As far as I’m concerned, until you do that, I don’t think you’re working in good faith,” he added.
However, Luetkemeyer also said there are many people involved in the negotiations — from both parties and both chambers — and that gives him hope that something can eventually make it through.
Not all House Republicans share his concerns about the Senate’s actions, however. Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio), the bill’s lead Republican sponsor, says the Senate has been working hard on the bill.
“Senators [Steve] Daines and Senator [Kyrsten] Sinema have been working very closely and cooperatively and effectively to try to bring something to a resolution,” Joyce told Natalie on Thursday.
But one main Senate actor is taking a back seat … Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), who was a core part of reworking SAFE into SAFER, says her role has shifted.
“I was involved earlier. I’ve been less involved lately,” Lummis told Natalie on Wednesday. “I’m really out of the loop.”
Lummis’ office said separately that staff have remained involved in talks while the senator focuses on other priorities.