US Senate leader McConnell expected to discuss marijuana banking reform

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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is scheduled to talk with cannabis industry executives this week in California about marijuana banking legislation and other issues, perhaps signaling that the Kentucky Republican is open to MJ reform.

McConnell is a key gatekeeper in determining whether cannabis banking reform legislation, which recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support, has a chance for a vote in the Senate.

The planned discussions in California, and a tour of a cannabis facility, were reported by MarketWatch.

McConnell hasn’t publicly voiced his opinion on cannabis banking reform.

Hemp banking provisions were added to the House bill, the SAFE Banking Act, in part to make the legislation more agreeable to rural-state Republicans such as McConnell, who led the effort to legalize hemp on a federal basis.

Sen. Mike Crapo, an Idaho Republican who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, has said he wants his committee to consider cannabis banking reform before year-end.

Crapo also said recently that the strong bipartisan support in the House bodes well for potential passage in the Senate.

The SAFE Banking Act would permit financial institutions and insurance companies to serve cannabis-related businesses without fear of federal repercussion.

Morgan Fox, media relations director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, wrote in an email to Marijuana Business Daily that he didn’t have much information about McConnell’s planned discussions.

“However, it is encouraging that McConnell appears to be taking an interest in learning more about cannabis issues, particularly given the importance of passing the SAFE Banking Act in the Senate, which could help people around the country, including many of his own constituents,” Fox wrote.

For more on McConnell’s expected meeting with marijuana executives, click here.