A bipartisan bill that was drafted to protect the banks that accept marijuana businesses as clients will be put before the whole House for a vote this month, according to the office of the Majority Leader.
This decision was announced during a closed-door meeting of the Democratic Party lawmakers held on Thursday. The exact date hasn’t been agreed upon, but it will be this month.
Some lawmakers who attended that closed-door meeting revealed that there was a suggestion that the bill be voted upon after suspending the rules of procedure. If this were to happen, at least two-thirds of the lawmakers have to vote in favor of the bill if it is to pass.
The SAFE Banking Act currently has 206 cosponsors, which means that the advocates of this bill still have some work to convince more members to come on board so that the option of voting under suspended rules can result in success.
The suspension process also doesn’t allow lawmakers to make any changes to the law being considered, and this could be a potential flashpoint since it is possible that some legislators want to include other provisions, such as protecting banks that do business with hemp companies, before the bill is passed.
It isn’t entirely far-fetched to consider the possibility that a completely new bill may be tabled for a vote. This option is likely in case the lawmakers talked to those who are opposed to the SAFE Banking Act and new terms were agreed upon and included in the new version. This could explain why the idea of voting under suspended rules arises.
The SAFE Banking Act had been expected to receive a floor vote before the House went on recess in August, but this didn’t happen.
Meanwhile, the Senate Banking Committee is also getting set to vote on a marijuana banking bill. No date has been set, but committee chair Mike Crapo (R-ID) said on Thursday that a panel is getting the bill ready.
This announcement may have forced the hand of the Democrats in Congress since they have been unwilling to let the Republicans in Senate advance the marijuana law before the Democrats do anything along the same lines.
The Democrats have positioned themselves as the champions of marijuana law reform, so it is crucial, at least for perception purposes, for the bill in Congress to be voted upon before the Republican-dominated Senate considers a similar bill.
Regardless of the motives behind the timing of the House vote, analysts believe different members of the marijuana industry, such as The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) and The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF), will welcome this crucial legislation since it will make it easier for the industry to thrive.
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