Rep. Ed Perlmutter, who sponsored the Secure and Fair Enforcement (“SAFE”) Banking Act, revealed last week that he’d been having discussions with Senate leadership about altering his bill to place more focus on equity issues.
Perlmutter said this shortly before the House passed the SAFE Banking Act for the sixth time. The act was attached to the America COMPETES Act, a large-scale manufacturing and innovation legislation. During the press briefing, the congressman stated that he’d initiated discussions with Sen. Cory Booker’s and Sen. Chuck Schumer’s offices, in addition to having discussions with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Perlmutter explained that the time had come to pass a bill that rationalized banking, noting that any research elements, tax reforms or criminal justice reforms were all bonuses which needed to be viewed in a positive light. In addition to this, he mentioned that the discussions had begun before the House passed the banking measure when it was attached to the National Defense Authorization Act, noting that the conversations didn’t produce results in time as the banking language was excluded after bicameral negotiations.
The Senate already approved its related version of this new innovation legislation, which doesn’t contain the marijuana banking language but focuses on competing with the People’s Republic of China on trade.
Schumer, who is the Senate Majority Leader, recently stated that he was open to advancing the banking legislation if some amendments that further promoted equity were added. Perlmutter revealed that while he was open to making amendments, adding too many new equity provisions would alter the bipartisan measure too much, which could prompt Republican members such as Patrick McHenry, the House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member, to oppose the bill’s passage. This, he said, would reduce support for the bill from that side of the aisle.
When asked about whether he’d spoken to the House Speaker about advocating to keep the banking language attached to the America COMPETES Act in bicameral conference, Perlmutter stated that he had and was confident that she would do so.
Rep. Dave Joyce stated that there was agreement in passing bipartisan marijuana reforms such as the SAFE Banking Act, as well as a separate initiative he was sponsoring with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which would incentivize states to expunge cannabis records.
Many legislators, in particular Republicans, are puzzled at why Democrats haven’t succeeded in passing this modest banking legislation, despite having control of the White House and being the majority in both chambers. The entire cannabis industry, including companies such as Flora Growth Corp (NASDAQ: FLGC), looks forward to the passing of legislation, which will end the federal prohibition of marijuana or at least allow the industry to access banking services like any other sector of the economy.
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