Much-needed and highly anticipated banking reform has been excluded from a large-scale spending bill expected to be released on Monday, a Senate staffer confirmed to Marijuana Moment.
This represents yet another major setback for passage of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. It was hoped that the bill would pass during the soon-to-end lame-duck session.
After the proposal failed to make it into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) earlier in December, the hope was that appropriations would serve to protect banks that work with state-legal cannabis companies. The marijuana banking package included expungement grants and gun rights protections, reported Politico.
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Despite Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) efforts to get cannabis banking reform in the omnibus and passed, negotiations failed to produce a package that includes the measure.
“The lack of SAFE Banking language leaves supporters with few legislative options—and very little time—to advance the reform during the final weeks of the lame duck,” said Marijuana Moment’s Kyle Jaeger.
NORML responded to what it called the Democratic leadership’s consistent failure to prioritize and advance marijuana reform legislation.
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“Democrats’ failure and the GOP’s continued resistance to any progress is out of step with voters’ opinion, is bad politics, and most importantly, it is bad public policy,” said NORML executive director Erik Altieri. “Until Congressional action is taken, state-licensed marijuana businesses, the hundreds of thousands of people they employ, and the millions of Americans that patronize them will continue to be at a higher risk of robbery due to the cash-heavy nature of this industry created by outdated federal laws. Furthermore, smaller entrepreneurs who seek to enter this industry will continue to struggle to compete against larger, more well-capitalized interests.”
This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.