By Victor Reklaitis
Leaders of the Republican-run House are 'either agnostic or opposed' to the bill, analyst says
Cannabis stocks advanced Thursday, helped by news that a key Senate committee could soon vote to advance a widely followed bill that aims to make it easier for the financial industry to work with cannabis companies.
Senate Banking Committee chair Sherrod Brown said Wednesday that there is "an agreement imminent" on the SAFE Banking Act, according to a Politico report. The Ohio Democrat told Punchbowl News earlier this week that the measure was among those that he wanted to act on "in the next six weeks."
Brown's committee could vote on the bill as soon as Sept. 20, and it would be expected get the panel's OK because the chair "would not schedule it for a vote unless he was confident of passage," Jaret Seiberg, an analyst at TD Cowen Washington Research Group, said in a note Thursday.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will then probably seek passage of the cannabis banking bill by the full Senate in this year's fourth quarter, and the measure is likely to come up for a vote, because there are expected to be enough senators backing it to overcome a filibuster, according to Seiberg.
In a floor speech on Tuesday about his current priorities, Schumer, a New York Democrat, mentioned "making progress on cannabis through the SAFE Banking Act."
But the leaders of the Republican-run House of Representatives are "either agnostic or opposed" to the bill, and that "makes passage challenging, which is why the best window may be after next year's election," Seiberg said.
The most likely path forward for the legislation will be as a provision in a big year-end package in 2024 that's enacted during a lame-duck session, according to the analyst. Even that route looks like "an uphill fight," he added.
Last December, the cannabis banking bill was left out of a sprawling year-end package, and that development weighed on pot stocks.
On Thursday, the AdvisorShares Pure U.S. Cannabis exchange-traded fund MSOS was recently trading higher by 6%, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ gained 2%. Shares of Tilray Brands (TLRY) and Green Thumb Industries also advanced, but Curaleaf and Canopy Growth (WEED.T) lost ground.
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September 07, 2023 15:20 ET (19:20 GMT)
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