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420 with CNW — Cannabis Industry Lobbying Increases as Looming Government Shutdown Leaves SAFE Banking in Balance

The U.S. marijuana sector persists in allocating substantial financial resources toward influential advocates, aiming to sway senators into endorsing marijuana reform. Nonetheless, this endeavor faces a potential impediment in the form of an imminent government shutdown, capable of profoundly disrupting the legislative schedule of Congress.

During the first six months of 2023, marijuana enterprises and industry coalitions invested more than $2.4 million in lobbying efforts directed at the Senate, according to the latest disclosures in federal lobbying records. This falls short of the $2.9 million expended during the latter half of 2022, including the session following the general election, when the prospects of marijuana banking reform appeared remarkably promising.

While certain corporations have trimmed their expenses or completely revoked contracts due to economic challenges facing the sector, other entities have come to terms with the reality that lobbying expenditures are an essential investment for their survival.

However, the outcomes of those efforts so far bear a frustrating resemblance to the past: well-received and long-anticipated reforms, such as guaranteed access to banking services and more ambitious objectives such as rescheduling, persist as tantalizingly close yet unattainable. As lawmakers disperse for the August recess, the possibility of the SAFE Banking Act being ratified within President Joe Biden’s inaugural term remains viable, albeit subject to change.

Yet, the likelihood of success will gradually diminish without the passage of critical spending bills, as indicated by congressional staff members and lobbyists on Capitol Hill.

Following the resumption of sessions on Sept. 5, 2023, Congress’s principal focus will be on ratifying the essential spending legislation to prevent a government shutdown on Oct. 1. A government shutdown is set off when Congress fails to pass the necessary funding bills, resulting in substantial disruption, a scenario that is currently foreseeable, as recently pointed out by the Brookings Institution, a think tank situated in Washington, DC.

As the interval without a spending debate increases, the time allocated on legislative calendars for other legislative actions decreases. This encompasses the consideration of the SAFE Banking Bill, which is slated to undergo a comprehensive markup hearing in the Senate Banking Committee, a precursor to the final Senate floor vote. The procedure advocated for this year experienced a major milestone when the bill obtained an informational hearing in mid-May.

However, a markup hearing, a session involving the introduction and debate of amendments to potentially modify the bill, was initially promised for the summer months, first in June and then in July. However, disagreements between bipartisan representatives regarding the final form of the bill, coupled with the aim of securing additional Republican endorsements to ensure the bill’s passage, prompted the Senate to adjourn for the August recess without holding this hearing. Additionally, complications have arisen from requests by companies that have existing bank accounts.

Nonetheless, observers in Washington broadly concur that significant hurdles persist for this proposal, primarily concerning antimoney laundering provisions and the ability to garner adequate Republican support to ensure passage in the full Senate. Lobbying records substantiate the evidence: while rescheduling and the potential establishment of a nationwide legalized marijuana industry akin to Canada’s aspirations endure as long-term goals, the SAFE Banking Bill remains the paramount priority of the marijuana sector.

For some companies that have chosen a pharmaceutical path to cannabis product development, such as IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC), access to banking services isn’t an issue because they engage in a federally accepted business, unlike mainstream marijuana companies which are only state approved.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/IGC

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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