CANNABIS CORNER: SAFE Act Still on Track05.08.2019 By John D'Antona
It still looks like it’ll be OK in the near future to fund cannabis companies.
This prognostication comes after recent comments from Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo who publicly declined to endorse the SAFE Act, which would permit banks to financially service cannabis firms that comply with state law. Crapo, who is the Senate Banking Chairman, make his remarks recently before the Independent Community Bankers of America, which is the politically influential trade group for smaller banks.
According to Cowen analysts, while this declination is a setback, it might just only be a temporary one or not one at all. Why? Senator Crapo did not say he’d oppose the bill – just that he was unable to endorse it.
“While Senator Crapo’s comments were disappointing, we still see a path forward for cannabis legislation in the 116th Congress. And we continue to believe that narrow bills on banking and medical care are more likely than the STATES Act and other measures that would legalize cannabis,” said Cowen analysts. “Ultimately, this comes down to how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sees the politics of cannabis.”
As per Politico, who covered the actual ICBA event, Crapo said, “I cannot make a commitment as to whether we will take up legislation yet because we want to see how we can resolve this difference between criminal law and our financial law.”
So, what does it mean to the SAFE Act and/or other legislation that focuses on cannabis and cannabis funding?
Cowen said there is a door open for the SAFE Act, which would permit banks to service cannabis companies that comply with state law. It just may not be wide open. And the other positive here is that Sen. Crapo joined most other officials in Washington as saying that the conflict between state and federal laws on cannabis must be resolved.
“As always, the key issues to watch is what McConnell says on cannabis and which Senate committees hold hearings on cannabis,” Cowen wrote. “Action in the House is a given. The fight is in the Senate.”
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