Sen. Jack Reed Questions Merrick Garland On Cannabis Banking Bill's Broader Financial Regulations

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) raised concerns with Attorney General Merrick Garland regarding the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFER) Banking Act in a recent Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing. Reed focused specifically on the contentious Section 10.

This provision, criticized for potentially tipping off criminals through mandatory bank notifications about account closures from government inquiries, sparked debate about balancing the need for regulatory transparency against the imperative for operational secrecy in law enforcement.

SAFER Banking Act And Cannabis Regulation

A report from Zuanic & Associates delves into the implications of the SAFER Banking Act for the U.S. cannabis industry, suggesting that cannabis rescheduling, U.S. exchange listings and a potential "Cole Memo II" (Garland Memo) could have a more significant impact than the Act itself.

The report revisits the leniency of the 2013 Cole Memo on federal marijuana prosecutions, which was rescinded in 2018 under the presidency of Donald Trump, noting AG Garland's stance may signal a shift back to more lenient federal policies in line with state-level cannabis legalizations.

Strategic Delays And Legislative Pathways

Zuanic posits that the delay in the SAFER Act's markup vote could be a strategic move to secure broader bipartisan support.

He outlines two potential paths for the Act’s progression post-Senate approval: a prolonged process involving House debates extending into mid-2024, or a swifter enactment through inclusion in a must-pass year-end bill. Nevertheless, Zuanic highlights the challenges involved in passing the Act in the GOP-dominated House without significant Senate support.

Assessing Congressional Support For SAFER Banking

The analysis further assesses current bipartisan support for banking reform in Congress, detailing sponsorship dynamics in both the House and Senate. Despite a sense of optimism, Zuanic remains cautious, estimating a 50-60% chance of success in the Senate and lower prospects for a standalone passage in the House in 2024.

Photo: AI-Generated Image. 

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Posted In: Analyst ColorCannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsLegalMarketsAnalyst RatingsGeneralCole Memo IIJack ReedMerrick GarlandSAFE Banking ActSAFER Banking Act
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