SAFE Plus cannabis legislation could be gaining ground in the Senate

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"SAFE Plus," potential legislation that would allow legal cannabis businesses access to the US banking system as well as provide a handful of other marijuana reform measures, could be coming closer to fruition.

That's the assessment from Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Pablo Zuanic, who noted that passage of "SAFE Plus" is now likely during Congress' lame duck period between the November midterm election and when the new Congress is sworn in in January 2023.

He added that there is now a small chance that language that would allow multi-state operators to uplist to major U.S. exchanges could also be included.

"SAFE Plus" differs from the original SAFE Banking Act -- which itself has already passed the House -- in that it includes measures for Small Business Administration loans, increased access for veterans to medical marijuana, and marijuana conviction expungements.

"SAFE Plus" is seen as a possible compromise measure with Democratic senators including Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) who have introduced a much broader marijuana reform measure, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, though their legislation is seen as having a slim chance of passing.

Zuanic noted that the SAFE Banking Act has nine Republican co-sponsors in the Senate, and he does not believe that SAFE Plus elements would be a deal-breaker for them.

He added that adding Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act to "SAFE Plus" could further bolster support from GOP lawmakers.

Given the multi-state operators sector is at historic lows and amid renewed hope for some type of "SAFE" legislation, Zuanic said he is a buyer of MSOs now.

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).

Check out the latest episode of Seeking Alpha's The Cannabis Investing Podcast featuring Verano's (OTCQX:VRNOF) Chief Investment Officer Aaron Miles.

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