U.S. Marijuana Legalization Advances with Banking Bill

U.S. Marijuana Legalization Advances with Banking Bill
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U.S. Marijuana Legalization Nears

The road toward U.S. marijuana legalization just got a little shorter. A federal bill to legalize banking in the pot sector is moving ahead to a full vote in the House.

The House Financial Services Committee recently approved that the Secure And Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019 be put to a vote in Congress. This is the first time that such a bill will have made it to the House floor.

At the start of the committee’s proceedings, Chairwoman Maxine Waters said the bill “addresses an urgent public safety concern for legitimate businesses that currently have no recourse but to operate with just cash.” (Source: “Marijuana Banking Bill Approved By Congressional Committee,” Forbes, March 28, 2019.)

Waters added, “However, I also consider this bill as part of a holistic approach toward providing criminal justice reform to those who have been harmed by criminalization of marijuana, and should not by any means be the only bill the House takes up on the important issue of cannabis reform.”

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The last part of that quote is key.

Currently, most of the legal cannabis companies don’t do business in the U.S., or at least aren’t involved in marijuana (some are entering the market via cannabidiol). But the promise of more legislation to come is what marijuana bulls ought to be interested in.

House Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern recently said he expects that the chamber, within a matter of weeks, will vote on legislation to protect states with legal marijuana from federal intervention.

“We will guide it to the House floor for a vote, which I think it will pass with an overwhelming vote—Democrats and I think a lot of Republicans as well,” said McGovern. “If we have a strong bipartisan vote that will increase the pressure on the Senate to do something.” (Source: Ibid.)

So what we have right now is the most marijuana-friendly House we’ve had since, well, since cannabis prohibition began. The new crop of Congress members are much more pro-marijuana than the Republican-controlled House of the past cycle.

The problem, as outlined in the quote by McGovern, is that the Senate is still firmly in Republican control. But not all Republicans favor marijuana prohibition. In fact, many may support drug reform.

The converse is also true, however: some Democrats may vote to keep marijuana illegal.

Still, it is looking more and more likely that a marijuana reform bill will be passed in the House and reach the Senate. Regardless of whether it passes the Senate, that is still a momentous development for pot stocks and brings us closer than ever to U.S. marijuana legalization.

Analyst Take

As 2019 chugs along, we have been seeing more and more momentum build up behind the campaign for U.S. marijuana legalization.

The legislative push for banking reform related to the marijuana sector is only the latest entry in what will likely be the biggest year yet for U.S. marijuana legalization.