GOP House Financial Services Committee Chair Says Cannabis Banking “Not A Priority For Me”

Hope of a revival of SAFE Banking Act legislation in the new Congress have become a little more clouded. Speaking at a U.S. House Financial Services Committee hearing today to discuss a range of pressing banking and debt ceiling issues, Republican committee Chair Patrick McHenry stated that cannabis banking was not a “priority”. It’s the latest disappointment for a cannabis industry starving for some sort of federal regulatory breakthrough.

The saving grace, according to Punchbowl News journalist Brendan Pedersen, is that McHenry purportedly gets “the social/business issues with cannabis legalization, but he doesn’t think financial services legislation is the right avenue to address this part of drug policy.”

Perhaps with a little cajoling from supporters within the Republican Party and a potentially more active banking lobby, Mr. McHenry may shift his priorities.

Patrick McHenry is a Republican politician who currently serves as the ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee. He began his political career as a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives in 2003, where he served two terms before being elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2004. He has represented North Carolina’s 10th Congressional District since then and is currently serving his ninth term in Congress.

In Congress, McHenry has focused primarily on financial services, economic policy, and small business issues. He has been a leading voice in advocating for regulatory reform, promoting free-market principles, and supporting small business owners. He has also been a staunch defender of consumers’ access to financial products and services.

McHenry has held several leadership positions in the House of Representatives, including serving as the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee from 2017 to 2019. During his tenure as chairman, he oversaw the passage of several important pieces of legislation, including the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which provided regulatory relief for small banks and credit unions.

Significant Support For SAFE Banking Remains

The news wasn’t all negative on Capitol Hill today. As reported by Marijuana Moment, chairman of a key Senate committee says lawmakers need to act on cannabis banking legislation “this year,” and his Republican counterpart on the panel agrees that the issue will “come to a conclusion likely in this Congress.”

Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chair of the Senate Banking Committee, also stated that the leadership was ready to “move” on the cannabis reform right before a bank’s failure this month diverted members’ attention. He also stated that “the White House wants this solved,” as far as he is informed.

One day after the lead GOP sponsor of SAFE urged the financial sector to exert pressure on Congress to complete the task, Brown and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), the committee’s ranking member, both spoke at the American Bankers Association Washington Summit on Wednesday.

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