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With the SAFE Banking Act now entering a markup by the Senate Banking Committee, the bill has achieved a new milestone in its long crawl to the floor of the chamber. In its current state, SAFE has 42 Senate cosponsors and carries a good chance of achieving a filibuster-proof majority of 60 votes. Amendments can be added in the markup stage that could change this but, as it stands, broader banking access for the cannabis industry has never been closer to reality.

The recommended rescheduling of cannabis by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as well as a new bill that is meant to protect individuals from being denied federal employment or security clearances due to marijuana use, has lent significant momentum to efforts meant to gradually dismantle the US’s federal prohibition on possession and distribution of the drug.

Related ETFs: AdvisorShares Pure US Cannabis ETF (MSOS), ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ)

The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Act, perhaps the second most critical legal reform next to an outright end to the federal prohibition on cannabis, has finally reached a new milestone in the Senate. The chamber’s Banking Committee formally added a markup of SAFE to their schedule for Wednesday, September 27. Also referred to as the SAFE Banking Act, the legislation would allow banks to legally handle the proceeds from a state-legal cannabis business by prohibiting certain federal banking regulators from taking adverse actions against banks and credit unions that provide services to “cannabis-related legitimate businesses”. SAFE has been tossed around congress for several years and has previously passed the House of Representatives seven times, only to be stonewalled by the Senate.

However, this time may be different. MRP has covered growing bipartisan support for cannabis banking reform in the US over the course of several years, with members of the traditionally cannabis-skeptic Republican party shifting toward a more libertarian view on the drug. In April 2021, for example, SAFE passed the House with a final recorded vote of 321-101. That included 106 Republicans (exactly half of the 212 Republicans in the chamber at the time) voting for approval. Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), now the Speaker of the House, voted in favor of the bill in previous years.

More recently, we highlighted Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) adding her name as a co-sponsor to the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act in July. That was a significant endorsement, as it added an eighth bill Republican cosponsor in the Senate – just one potential vote shy of…

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