Schumer Says Senate Will ‘Work Very Hard’ To Pass Marijuana Banking Bill Before November Election

Schumer Says Senate Will ‘Work Very Hard’ To Pass Marijuana Banking Bill Before November Election

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) says that a bipartisan marijuana banking bill is among the policy priorities his chamber will “work very hard” to enact this year ahead of the upcoming elections.

During a leadership press briefing on Wednesday, Schumer was asked what he thinks the Senate could “realistically” be expected to pass before November.

He said that passing the Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act is among the legislative items he hopes to enact, as well as rail safety legislation, insulin affordability and other issues.

“As you know, many of the bills we’ve passed are bipartisan,” he said, adding that “we’re going to work very hard on many different things.”

“We believe very strongly in so many things, and we are going to continue to work on the agenda that we put before us. We first have to fund the government—the supplemental is very important,” he said. “But after that, you will see us turn to many of the bills that we passed: the SAFER Act, safety on the rails, [the RECOUP Act], so many other things.”

The House of Representatives did pass an appropriations package on Wednesday, with several cannabis provisions attached such as protecting state medical marijuana programs from federal intervention. The Senate is teed up to advance it to the president’s desk this week ahead of a Friday midnight deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

Schumer is suggesting that marijuana banking legislation that cleared the Senate Banking Committee last September may be soon to follow after the funding obstacle is overcome.

At the close of the first half of the 118th Congress in December, Schumer said in a floor speech that lawmakers would “hit the ground running” in 2024, aiming to build on bipartisan progress on several key issues, including marijuana banking reform—though he noted it “won’t be easy.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) signed on as a cosponsor of the SAFER Banking Act last week, becoming the 36th member of the chamber to add their name to the legislation in addition to its lead sponsor.

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If the SAFER Banking Act does make it to the Senate floor this year, it’s expected to be amended. For example, Schumer has discussed the “moral responsibility” of further amending it to add provisions on state-legal cannabis expungements and gun rights for cannabis consumers.

More recently, a key lawmaker involved in negotiations over the cannabis legislation signaled that they are close to reaching a deal after members splintered last year over Section 10 of the measure that deals broadly with banking regulations that aren’t specific to the marijuana industry.

Meanwhile, the original sponsor of the first cannabis banking reform bill, former Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), spoke with Marijuana Moment last week about his work with a national marijuana group lobbying on the legislation. He said he remains “hopeful” that there’s enough time and momentum to enact the measure this year.

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