By Victor Reklaitis
Don’t bet on quick passage in the Senate for the SAFE Banking Act, analysts say, even after the House passed the cannabis banking bill on Monday in a 321-101 vote.
“We do not see an immediate path forward for SAFE in the Senate as Senate Democratic leaders are likely to first try to advance legalization legislation,” said Cowen Washington Research Group analyst Jaret Seiberg said in a note.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat, and two other top Democratic senators called in February for “ ending the federal marijuana prohibition ” and promised “comprehensive cannabis reform legislation.” That has boosted cannabis stocks /zigman2/quotes/204332491/composite MJ -1.74% /zigman2/quotes/213173823/composite THCX -1.31% this year.
Cowen’s Seiberg said there are 60 votes for the SAFE Banking Act in the Senate, which is split 50-50 but run by Democrats as Vice President Kamala Harris can cast tie-breaking votes.
“The problem is that Senate Banking Chair Sherrod Brown does not appear interested in advancing the House version of SAFE,” the analyst added.
“He wants social justice provisions, which we believe put at risk the GOP votes needed to overcome a filibuster. It is why we believe Senate Democratic leaders are concentrating on legalization ahead of banking access. It appears the obstacles to both bills are similar.”
The Senate’s filibuster rule requires 60 votes to end debate on most items and allows the minority party to stymie the majority’s efforts.
In a statement late Monday, Brown’s office said damage done to minority families from the war on drugs must be addressed, though he also noted the need for the banking legislation.
Other analysts have said the SAFE Banking Act could be the marijuana-related bill that’s most likely to eventually pass the Democratic-run Senate .