5 senators urge panel to keep cannabis banking in defense spending bill

Five U.S. senators from both parties who serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee signed a letter urging the leaders of that panel to throw their support behind the SAFE Banking Act.

The fate of the cannabis banking measure is likely to be decided in December via a conference committee, with members from both the House and Senate negotiating the terms of the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an omnibus defense spending bill for the 2022 fiscal year.

The senators’ letter requests that the chairs and ranking members of the committee all push to keep the cannabis banking measure included in the final version of the bill, which is considered the SAFE Act’s most likely route to success in the current congressional session.

“The House of Representatives has passed the SAFE Banking Act five times, most recently as an amendment to the NDAA, and we ask you to ensure that the text of that amendment remains in the final conference version of the bill to be considered by the House and the Senate,” the letter requests.

“This will help cannabis-related businesses, create jobs, and strengthen public safety in our communities.”

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The cohort of lawmakers includes Democratic Sens. Gary Peters of Michigan, Jacky Rosen of Nevada and Mark Kelly of Arizona, Republican Kevin Cramer of North Dakota and independent Angus King of Maine. King caucuses with the Democrats.

The five senators’ message follows a similar letter signed by 21 governors earlier this month.