Democratic lawmakers turn up pressure to get marijuana banking reform passed

Legalization of Marijuana

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  • Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) held a press conference Wednesday designed to boost support for legislation that would allow multi-state operators to work with the U.S. financial system.
  • Perlmutter is the lead sponsor of the SAFE Banking Act, which has passed the House. The bill is awaiting action in the Senate, though it may be included as part of a larger package of cannabis reforms.
  • Explaining the merits of SAFE Banking, Perlmutter said it "obviously is a public safety issue. It is a tax issue. It is an issue of civil justice," Marijuana Moment reported.
  • "We can get this done," he added. "We will get this done. We need some more Republican cosponsors."
  • Perlmutter alluded that he may seek "the nuclear option," a reference to holding up other legislation in the House Rules Committee such as the National Defense Authorization Act. In the House version of that legislation, cannabis banking reform is included.

  • Citing bipartisan support for SAFE Banking as standalone legislation, Merkley said, "We're here today to say it's way past time to get the SAFE Banking bill done."
  • Democratic lawmakers in the Senate are pursuing a broader marijuana reform bill, known as the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA), that includes federal cannabis legalization as well as other measures that would provide support to businesses run by those with prior marijuana offenses.
  • Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a key sponsor of the CAOA, has said that in order for SAFE Banking to win approval as a stand-alone bill in the Senate, it would need measures to help those disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition.
  • Perlmutter said that while CAOA is a "very sweeping piece of legislation," it doesn't have the votes in the Senate.
  • Multi-state operators: Cresco Labs (OTCQX:CRLBF); Columbia Care (OTCQX:CCHWF); Trulieve Cannabis (OTCQX:TCNNF); Green Thumb Industries (OTCQX:GTBIF); Curaleaf Holdings (OTCPK:CURLF); MedMen Enterprises (OTCQB:MMNFF); Acreage Holdings (OTCQX:ACRHF); Ayr Wellness (OTCQX:AYRWF); Verano Holdings (OTCQX:VRNOF); and Jushi Holdings (OTCQX:JUSHF).

  • Cannabis-related ETFs: AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (YOLO), Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (CNBS), ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSEARCA:MJ), AdvisorShares Pure US Cannabis ETF (MSOS), and Global X Cannabis ETF (POTX).

  • In August, Booker said he was open to a "SAFE Banking Plus" bill that would include provisions for marijuana business banking as well as criminal justice reform.

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