Schumer, GOP Senators Discuss Marijuana Reform: Bipartisan Talks Spark Hope For Policy Change

The top Senate Democrat continues to push for federal marijuana reform.

Following a meeting with a group of fellow Democratic senators to discuss the path that would push cannabis legislation toward approval in the new Congress, Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) convened with several GOP chamber colleagues earlier this week.

Schumer met with Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) for a conversation about the new legislative session in Congress, including talks on coming up with a bipartisan solution regarding cannabis reform.

According to a source known to Marijuana Moment, the negotiations revolved around marijuana banking reform.

Why Banking Reform?

Under existing federal law, financial institutions are not allowed to provide their services to marijuana businesses, even in states with legal programs. Compelled to rely on cash to operate, cannabis businesses are often ideal targets for robbery. Moreover, the lack of financial services makes it difficult for smaller operators to enter the burgeoning industry.

Enter the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2021 (SAFE Banking Act) that seeks to resolve this issue - one of the biggest in the industry. However, lawmakers have yet to enact the reform bill.

After cannabis banking reform was removed from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that sought to secure its approval, Democrats attempted to attach SAFE to a must-pass omnibus spending bill. However, that effort also failed.

Earlier this month, Democratic senators Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Cory Booker (N.J.), and Jacky Rosen (Nev.) joined Sen. Jeff Merkley (Ore) and Schumer to ponder about their next move and how to advance SAFE Plus, a set of marijuana proposals, through the bipartisan legislature.

“I think every Congress I’ve been here … has been a climb, but we’re gaining momentum,” Booker told The Hill. “There are people now, bipartisan and bicameral, who support some sort of reform legislation, and we’re going to continue to work on it this Congress.”

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Photo: Benzinga edit of images by U.S. Senate Photographic Studio/Jeff McEvoy, Matthew Brodeur  and Alexander Grey on Unsplash

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsMarketsGeneralbanking reformCharles SchumerCory BookerDan SullivanJacky RosenJeff MerkleyLegalizationmarijuanaMarijuana MomentRand PaulSherrod BrownSteve Daines
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