Chris Potter

Bipartisan Cannabis Finance Legislation Supported By Banks

New legislation being crafted by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), co-sponsored by 82 Democrats and 13 Republicans, is expected to pass the House Financial Services Committee and has good odds for being approved by the full House, according to Politico.

The “blue wave” that took back the House of Representatives in the midterms not only ousted long-time opponent of cannabis Pete Sessions, but also chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). Former Rep. Hensarling’s will be replaced by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who said she will not continue the practice of suppressing the discussion around cannabis reform bills.

Rep. Perlmutter, who is also a member of the House Financial Services Committee, said that the American Bankers Association has assisted with developing the bill. Other banking associations, including The Independent Community Bankers of America and the Credit Union National Association, had previously stated support for recent cannabis banking reforms, which is expected to carry over to the latest legislative attempt.

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ removal will also bolster the reforms attempt, depending on whom Trump appoints as his permanent replacement. Other Trump-administration appointees are far more supportive of reforms than AG Sessions, including top banking regulator Joseph Otting, Comptroller of the Currency. Otting told reporters last month that a legislative solution for cannabis banking was needed and he was “hopeful there’s enough momentum in that direction.”

An analyst with Compass Point, a financial sector investment and research firm, said that while his organization puts the likelihood of full cannabis legalization in the next congressional session at only 25 percent, research indicates the odds of cannabis banking reform passing are at 75 percent.

The next session of Congress — which is when Rep. Perlmutter’s banking legislation is likely to enter its final stages — begins January 3, 2019.

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