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Government Shutdown Threatens to Derail SAFE Banking Momentum

A looming government shutdown could derail the progress of the SAFE Banking Act, despite $2.4m spent on lobbying in the first half of 2023.

The long-awaited crucial legislation which would guarantee US cannabis companies access to banking could see its progress ‘complicated’ by an October shut down, MJBizDaily reports. 

Despite making history by securing a mid-May informational hearing, the SAFE Banking Act markup hearing, in which the amendments are introduced and debated, has seen continued delays.

Bi-partisan disagreements over the finer details of the bill has meant that this markup hearing has missed both its promised June and July dates, with the Senate now adjourning for the August recess without the hearing taking place.

When lawmakers return on September 05, the race will be on to pass necessary spending bills in order to avoid a government shutdown on October 01.

READ MORE: New York Halts Cannabis Retail Licensing

A shutdown is a major disruption that occurs when crucial spending bills cannot be passed, which the Brookings Institution think tank believes is now likely.

This would, according to one source, ‘suck all the air out of the room’, and leave increasingly little time for lawmakers to focus on other business, including SAFE’s markup hearing.

Sources speaking to MJBizDaily have suggested that if there is no vote on the bill before the end of the year the bill’s chances of being passed are greatly reduced.

Reggie Babin, former aide to Sen. Chuck Schumer, said: “I’ve always pointed to October as the most likely window to carve out a couple of weeks (for SAFE Banking).

“But that could be complicated if there’s a shutdown that costs you legislative days in the fall.”

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