Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives formally attached a cannabis banking reform amendment to large-scale legislation dealing with innovation and manufacturing.
Following the approval of the amendment from sponsor Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) on a voice vote as part of an 'en bloc group' with other amendments, the chamber passed the package on Feb. 3 in a 262-168 vote.
Now, a month following its latest and sixth attempt to get the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act across the finish line, Perlmutter, who is preparing for retirement from Congress, says he is determined to continue to put significant pressure on his Senate colleagues to advance the bill.
"I will continue to be a real pest, and persistent in getting this done," Perlmutter told ABA executive vice president for congressional relations and political affairs, James Ballantine, at an event Tuesday where he stressed public safety concerns like robberies of state-legal marijuana retailers forced to operate on a cash-only basis.
He highlighted that cannabis businesses are not facing run-of-the-mill robberies, but also instances where the police allegedly targeted armored cars "filled with cash from medical dispensaries" and seized the money, which "seemed to [have] a little bit of help by the federal government—FBI in one instance, the DEA and another—even though was all perfectly legal at the time."
Perlmutter also talked about obstacles he had been facing over the past years in his attempts to protect banks that work with state-legal marijuana businesses, Marijuana Moment reported.
The congressman said he believes the proposal might be further amended now that Democratic leadership is suggesting that it's too narrow, as opposed to key GOP lawmakers who blocked hearings during the Senate's last session because they felt it was too broad.
Despite being optimistic that the Senate will take up his bill this session, Perlmutter is aware that "as we expand this thing, then we start losing votes, particularly Republican votes and we got enough votes in the Senate to do it" as is.
He also pointed out that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has addressed the federal-state marijuana banking conflict and that "she wants to get this off her plate and get it done."
On the other hand, President Joe Biden and his administration have been "a little bit leery and cautious on this subject,' given that his opinion on the banking issue is unclear.
© 2022 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
Meet the biggest cannabis industry players and make deals that will push the industry forward.
Featuring live company presentations, insider panels, and unmatched access to networking, the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is where cannabis executives and entrepreneurs meet.
Join us April 11-12, 2023 at Fontainebleau Miami Beach in sunny Florida.