Negotiations on legislation to let legal cannabis businesses get bank loans, accept credit cards and open checking accounts are focusing on what restorative justice measures can be added without the jeopardizing the 60 Senate votes needed needed to enact the bill.
Proponents have acknowledged that the Secure and Fair Enforcement, or SAFE, Banking Act, opposed by U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, won’t reach the Senate floor without addressing their concerns.
“That’s exactly where we are,” Booker told NJ Advance Media. “We are at a point now where most people understand that the SAFE Banking bill as written is not enough to pass the Senate. They’re going to have to add equity issues and fairness issues into the banking provisions and do some restorative justice as well. The question is how much can we get done.”
Negotiations on a cannabis bill “are getting much more substantive,” said Morgan Fox, political director for NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “There are real conversations about what an incremental package would really look like. It’s moved beyond just the SAFE Banking Act and is now a conversation that is a little more broad.”
Topics being discussed include helping states expunge convictions for nonviolent marijuana offenders, providing Small Business Administration loans to new legal cannabis businesses trying to get started, and making sure that banks provide support for new minority-owned enterprises, said Justin Strekal, a long-time advocate for legal weed who now runs a pro-cannabis political action committee. [Read More @ NJ.com]
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