Marijuana SAFE Banking bill could be heard in US Senate within ‘weeks’

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Marijuana banking reform legislation could be heard in a key U.S. Senate committee before the end of June, a top Democratic senator suggested this week.

Reintroduced in both houses of Congress earlier this year, the SAFE Banking Act has passed the House of Representatives several times, only to fail in the Senate.

Despite passage in the House, the Senate has not held a formal committee hearing on the bill.

That could happen before Congress adjourns for the July 4 recess, Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, told Bloomberg Law.

But other bills will compete for the committee’s limited time and attention.

“We’re looking at markup on the fentanyl issue, the executive compensation issue and the Safe Banking Act issue, and we want to do all that in the next two or three weeks,” said Brown, who chairs the Banking Committee.

The panel held a hearing in May that touched on the cannabis industry’s well-known problems of attracting investors and handling cash that advocates say can be solved with the SAFE Banking Act.

Cannabis advocates welcomed May’s hearing on the topic of cannabis banking as a positive sign, although ranking Republicans invited testimony from marijuana legalization’s fiercest opponents.

Despite bipartisan support, the SAFE Banking Act last year failed to win enough Republican votes to survive Senate filibuster rules.

At least 60 committed votes in the 100-member body are required for a bill to advance to the floor for an up-down vote.