Key US senator indicates panel may refuse to hear cannabis banking bill

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The chair of a key U.S. Senate committee declined Tuesday to commit to considering legislation that would provide federal protections to financial institutions serving state-legal marijuana businesses, which is dubbed the SAFE Banking Act.

Sen. Mike Crapo, a Republican from Idaho, made the comments – as reported by Politico in a tweet – at a meeting of the Independent Community Bankers of America.

Crapo’s comments aren’t generally seen as a surprise given that cannabis industry watchers have long viewed the Republican-controlled Senate as the biggest hurdle for the measure, despite the fact that five Senate Republicans are now on board as co-sponsors.

In late March, a House panel advanced the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which has 168 co-sponsors in the Democratic-controlled House, including 18 Republicans. The measure is expected to get a full House vote by June.