Key Senate Chairman Worries Impeachment Could Delay Marijuana Banking Vote
Senate Banking Committee Chair Mike Crapo (R-ID) said in a new interview that he’s interested in holding a vote on a bipartisan marijuana banking bill “as soon as we can,” but also acknowledged that the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump may delay congressional action on cannabis reform.
Speaking with with Marijuana Moment on Wednesday, the senator said he doesn’t “have any update” with respect to specific timing of a vote on cannabis banking legislation in his panel.
“I want to do it as soon as we can, but we’re working through the various [potential changes to a House-passed bill],” he said. “We’re working through those.”
“But as far as being able to get a better pinpointing of the timing, I just don’t have one yet,” Crapo said.
The House approved the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act in September, along largely bipartisan lines. While the chairman said earlier this year that he was concerned about taking up the measure while cannabis remains federally illegal, he later said that he wants to take up the legislation in his committee before the year’s end.
That said, he described several changes he’d like to see to the House-passed version in an earlier interview with Marijuana Moment.
Asked on Wednesday whether he felt that the House impeachment process, which kicked off in earnest last week after the chamber voted in favor of a resolution outlining the procedure, threatened to derail the banking bill, Crapo said that it might—but not moreso than any other issue requiring congressional time and attention.
“I don’t think it would, but impeachment is having an impact on everything around here,” he said. “I don’t see that it would have a greater impact on this than anything else.” But “if there’s an impeachment trial,” he said, “it’ll delay everything during the trail. Other than that, I don’t think so.”
In a separate interview with Marijuana Moment last month, Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) similarly expressed concern that the impeachment inquiry could undermine bipartisan cannabis reform efforts.
The cannabis industry is intensively waiting for Congress to further advance the bill, which would protect banks that service marijuana businesses from being penalized by federal regulators. Federal data shows that more banks have been willing to work with these firms over time, but anticipation over the prospect of a House vote on the SAFE Banking Act seemed to have resulted in a leveling off in the number of businesses banks accepted in the last quarter.
Aaron Houston contributed reporting for this story from Washington, D.C.
Number Of Banks Working With Marijuana Businesses Levels Off, Federal Data Shows