Members of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), the oldest and largest trade association serving the industry, spent two days lobbying on behalf of the SAFE Banking Act, which would provide cannabis companies access to traditional banking services, reported the Canadian Press.
“We know right now, if SAFE were to come up, it would be a 65 to 70 vote,” stated Aaron Smith, NCIA’s chief executive. “NCIA is completely supportive of comprehensive reform … but we know the votes are there for SAFE, so our focus is on getting SAFE over the finish line.”
Canadian Co. Weighs In
Omar Khan, senior vice-president of corporate and public affairs of Canadian cannabis retailer High Tide Inc. HITI HITI, was part of the delegation meeting with Senate and House officials from both sides of the aisle.
“Based on those discussions, I am cautiously optimistic that some form of SAFE could pass during the lame-duck session of Congress in November,” Khan said and added that discussions on social equity are taking place, acknowledging that cannabis prohibition has disproportionately affected people of color in the U.S.
Khan also said that “plant-touching” operations to be listed on U.S. securities exchanges would allow a Nasdaq-listed retailer like High Tide “to move into the brick-and-mortar retail space in the U.S.” without risking its listing.
Is SAFE Banking Around The Corner?
Cowen analyst Jaret Seiberg said on Thursday that the House and Senate are working on a cannabis package based on the SAFE Banking measure to speed up financial transactions. Seiberg remains cautiously optimistic as Congress could pass the cannabis banking bill after the election.
“If Democrats manage to sweep the House and Senate in November, it’s likely that progressives in the party may push for a broader bill (…) [it is] also possible that an unexpected macro crisis could push cannabis out of the legislative picture,” reported Market Watch.
Sen. Jeff Merkley, a sponsor of the SAFE Act, discussed the “SAFE Banking Plus” bill at the Payments, Banking, and Compliance (PBC) Conference in September.
It “is nearing completion after bicameral and bipartisan talks,” he said. Merkley sustained that a marijuana reform package should include capital components to raise the support of legislators who have resisted broader change centered on justice.
“It’s time to close the deal in SAFE Banking Plus,” Merkley said, according to Business Insider reporter Jeremey Berke. “No one has paid a political price ever for supporting cannabis in this country.”
The SAFE Banking Act has passed in the House seven times but hasn’t moved in the Senate.
Image and article originally from www.benzinga.com. Read the original article here.