Will Congressional Leaders Include Marijuana Banking In The Omnibus Spending Bill Expected On Monday?
Congress is set to take up a large-scale spending bill to provide funding for the government in the 2023 Fiscal Year—and it will be the second major test within the span of a week to see if marijuana banking and other cannabis reforms are pursued through a must-pass vehicle during the lame duck session. Advocates are eagerly awaiting action on a so-called SAFE Plus package that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has been finalizing and that’s expected to focus on marijuana banking and expungements. After cannabis reform was excluded from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that was released this week, the House sponsor of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act said he was eyeing appropriations as a possible alternative vehicle. So far, there are no public commitments that it will happen, but it will be known soon, as Democratic leaders are expected to file the text of the omnibus on Monday. Beyond SAFE or SAFE Plus, there are a multitude of cannabis provisions that were previously included in House and Senate appropriations bills this cycle, so advocates will also be waiting to see if any of those are adopted as part of the final deal. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said on the floor on Thursday that Democrats “eliminated the so-called poison pill riders that Republicans have objected to” in the omnibus spending package. That’s not necessarily a sign that there’s been agreement to omit SAFE Plus from the funding package, but the statement also came after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) talked about tanking the reform as part of NDAA and said lawmakers should also apply that “lesson” to the appropriations process. On Friday, SAFE Banking sponsor Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said that he will “keep fighting” to get the reform “passed…
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