Cannabis News of Note for the Week:
Politico Pro Cannabis: Brown Wants to Move SAFE Quickly/Cornyn Says Cannabis Legislation Out to be ‘Comprehensive’ (paywalled newsletter, full text below)
Cannabis Reports of Note for the Week:
“We’re working with Schumer to move the bill more quickly and not have to go to hearings at this point,” Brown told Natalie outside the Capitol building on Tuesday.
The cannabis banking bill has received just one hearing, in 2019, under GOP leadership. That hearing was sparsely attended and the bill was never marked up. SAFE has not yet been introduced in this Congress.
When asked if fast-tracking the bill for a floor could create problems with Republicans who support SAFE but want a hearing — something the bill’s GOP sponsor Sen. Steve Daines (Mont.) mentioned at the end of the last Congress — Brown demurred.
“I know what [Daines] said, obviously, but that is not the problem,” he said, declining to give more detail.
CORNYN SAYS CANNABIS LEGISLATION OUGHT TO BE ‘COMPREHENSIVE’ — Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Tuesday said that cannabis legislation should be done in a comprehensive way, rather than with smaller bills like the SAFE Banking Act.
In a conversation with a legalization advocate that Natalie observed on Capitol Hill, Cornyn said that he believes the SAFE Banking Act sets a “terrible precedent.”
Even though medical marijuana is legal in 37 states and recreational weed is legal in 20, the consumption and sale of marijuana is still federally illegal. Passing the SAFE Act is framed by some as validating businesses that are breaking federal law.
Cornyn mentioned that banking isn’t the only issue the cannabis industry faces, citing tax issues. The cannabis industry is notoriously unable to write off any business expenses under section 280e of the federal tax code. Cornyn also brought up the possibility of money laundering through cash-only cannabis businesses.
“There’s a lot of reasons why this ought to be handled in a comprehensive, regulatory fashion,” Cornyn said. “I think there’s some road to have a discussion about this, but the so-called SAFE Banking bill, to me, is a bad idea.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), meanwhile, told the same advocate on Tuesday that he is “totally open minded” to the SAFE Banking Act.