Cannabis News of Note for the Week:
Politico Pro Cannabis: SAFE Banking Gets Edits (paywalled newsletter, full text below)
Cannabis Reports of Note for the Week:
Politico Pro Cannabis: SAFE BANKING GETS EDITS — The SAFE Banking Act is back at the drawing board, as lawmakers try to address issues raised by Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) in the Banking Committee hearing last month. Neither of the bill’s sponsors is convinced the changes are needed.
“The regulators have introduced some concerns and we’re trying to iron those out between the Democrats and Republicans supporting the bill,” lead Democrat sponsor Sen. Jeff Merkley (Ore.) told Natalie on Thursday.
Background: Section 10 was added to SAFE in 2019 as a sweetener for Republican lawmakers and was originally the text of Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.)’s Financial Institution Customer Protection Act, introduced in response to the Obama-era initiative called Operation Choke Point. FICP is intended to prevent any resurrection of Choke Point.
Reed argues section 10’s language could make it more difficult for regulators to flag relationships that could present risks to banks.
“That is absolutely not the case,” Merkley said in response to Reed’s concerns, but added: “If we need to clarify it belt and suspenders, we’ll try to do that.”
Lead GOP sponsor Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), however, expressed frustration with the new issues being raised and agreed that it is slowing down the bill’s progress.
“I had agreement, bipartisan agreement from the Democrats on the Banking Committee before I introduced [SAFE],” Daines told Natalie on Thursday. “But some of the Democrats are having problems with it now.”
Daines and Merkley both said their goal is to get a markup in the committee in the next work session, which is July 17-28. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), however, could not commit and said SAFE is further down his list of priorities.
“That’s a little further behind in the queue,” Brown said.
But however the bill progresses, progressive Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is all in … “I’ll take it any way we can get it,” she told Natalie. “Standalone, attached to something else, every bell and whistle — whatever it takes to get this across the finish line, count me in.”
Her response is notable because progressives are the contingent of the Democratic party most likely to vote against a SAFE Banking Act that heads to the floor without any kind of criminal justice reform element.