Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is making a final push for inclusion of the cannabis banking bill in the omnibus funding package.
According to a senior Senate Democratic aide, Democrats shared the revised text with Republicans on Thursday in a bid to get cannabis legislation over the finish line. The new bill text addresses concerns raised by key Republicans, including Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (Iowa).
But whether Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — who has derided the cannabis banking bill on the Senate floor — can be convinced to include it remains to be seen.
Schumer plans to push the bill with the other three House and Senate leaders in omnibus meetings on Friday and through the weekend.
Details: GOP members are concerned about enforcement and money laundering. Those concerns were raised in a Justice Department memo, first reported by Punchbowl News, that was first circulated in May 2022. The new language also hopes to address concerns about cash derived from illegal marijuana sales.
This is likely the last opportunity for a bipartisan group of supporters that includes Schumer and Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) Jeff Merkley (D-Ore), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) to get a cannabis bill across the finish line in this Congress. They tried and failed to include the SAFE Banking Act with two other pieces of cannabis legislation — the HOPE Act and the GRAM Act — in the National Defense Authorization Act earlier this month.
The HOPE Act would set aside grant funding for states to expunge cannabis-related records and the GRAM Act would protect the second amendment rights of marijuana users.
The outlook: even with these changes, it’s unclear if McConnell will support the addition of the cannabis banking bill in the omnibus. McConnell blocked the SAFE Banking Act in the NDAA last week, and said on the floor that he would work to keep unrelated language out of the omnibus as well.