Despite opposition from some cannabis legalization and social justice groups, the SAFE Banking Act is set for a House vote next week, Politico reports. One of the banking bill’s sponsors, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colorado), said he believes he has a two-thirds majority in the chamber which would allow the measure to be passed with no amendments and limited debate.
According to the report, the House version has been amended to include language specifically for hemp companies – likely included, in part, to get the attention of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to increase the odds of the bill being voted on in the Senate. It also includes language to prevent the revival of Operation Choke Point – a program enacted by former President Barack Obama that discouraged banks from doing business with wrongdoing merchants.
Rep. Andy Barr (R-Kentucky) told Politico that the anti-Choke Point language will likely get the attention of Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo. Crapo has previously indicated there would be amendments to the bill before it received a vote in the chamber.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) told Politico that she would likely vote “no” on the bill if it receives a vote before cannabis-related criminal justice legislation. The letter from activists sent to House leaders on Tuesday urged lawmakers to bring the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act up for a vote before the SAFE Banking Act.
“The winners of the war on drugs are going to become the winners on legalization. … This is only going to worsen the racial wealth gap and increase the legacy of the war on drugs.” – Ocasio-Cortez, to Politico
Ocasio-Cortez previously voted for the measure as a member of the House Financial Services Committee.
If the bill is approved by a two-thirds majority in the House it would put pressure on the Republican-led Senate to bring it up for a vote in the chamber.
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