The latest in the ongoing saga of cannabis banking or lack thereof…..
Marijuana Moment reports
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) is “still pretty irritated” that marijuana banking reform was omitted from a defense bill last week—apparently at the behest of Democratic Senate leadership. But he said in an interview with Marijuana Moment that the congressional debate that subsequently ensued has advanced the cause nonetheless.
Looking ahead, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act sponsor sees additional opportunities to pass the legislation as part of other large-scale bills if the Senate remains unwilling to adopt the standalone measure. He’s had conversations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to that end.
Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Dave Joyce (R-OH) also told Marijuana Moment this week that they remain adamant about finding a path to passage in spite of the recent setback.
Blumenauer, who also released a memo reflecting on the year’s progress on marijuana reform and outlining priorities for 2022 on Thursday, said during a briefing with reporters that he’s “learned to be patient” when it comes to cannabis reform on Capitol Hill.
“We’re playing the long game here, and we are in the best position we’ve ever been with the Senate,” Blumenauer said. “I’m confident, when we get these aligned, that we’ll be able to move.”
The congressional debate over SAFE Banking this year has divided certain lawmakers and advocates. They share the ultimate goal of ending cannabis criminalization, but there’s tension between the pragmatic desire to pursue bipartisan legislation that’s more incremental but has the votes to pass now and the push for comprehensive reform that will take time to build support for.
But despite the lawmakers’ optimism, it doesn’t necessarily take the sting out of the latest failed attempt to secure protections for banks that choose to work with state-legal cannabis businesses. The House had passed the reform as part of its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), only to have it sidelined following bicameral negotiations.
“By adding it to NDAA, we brought it up several notches in terms of the attention that the Senate had to take to SAFE Banking,” Perlmutter told Marijuana Moment in a phone interview on Tuesday.