Senate panel chair wants cannabis banking vote by year-end

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Senate Banking Chair Mike Crapo wants his committee to vote on a marijuana-related banking measure this year, in what would be a landmark development for the marijuana industry.

The Idaho Republican, in an interview with Politico, indicated, however, that he might craft his own bill rather than bring the SAFE Banking Act up for a vote.

“We’re working to try to get a bill ready,” by year-end, Crapo told Politico.

SAFE, which would enable financial institutions to serve the cannabis-related industry without fear of prosecution, has been pushed for years by U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Colorado Democrat.

The Senate version was introduced by Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, and Cory Gardner, a Republican from Colorado.

Crapo’s comments were consistent with the impression he left during a milestone committee hearing on the issue in July.

At that time, said the case was made “pretty strongly” for resolving cannabis banking issues, but he added that it “is an important, complex issue that we need to get right.”

Crapo told Politico he wanted to act partly because of how ancillary companies also have been affected by banking restrictions.

But he said he remained opposed to legalizing marijuana federally.

It’s unclear whether the Republican-controlled Senate Banking Committee will advance any cannabis banking measure this year.

During the July Senate committee hearing on the issue, Crapo was the only Republican present of the 13 GOP committee members.

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