The issue of marijuana banking has been a pressing concern for the cannabis industry for the past several years. Passed seven times on a bipartisan basis in the House of Representatives, the SAFE Banking Act has never quite had enough support to make it through to the president’s desk. Will this latest gambit share the same fate? According to one industry insider, this time may be different.
According to new intel from Pelorus Capital Group Co-Founding President Rob Sechrist, a prominent member of the Senate Banking Committee—the group currently studying SAFE Banking legislation and which held a hearing in May—has the 10 votes needed to pass a potential Senate floor vote.
On our latest Trade To Black podcast, Mr. Sechrist stated that he recently met with Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), a member of the Senate Banking Committee and co-sponsor of the SAFE Banking Act. While the meeting agenda was broad, the issue of SAFE Banking was addressed directly.
Straight to the point, Rob Sechrist reports that, “Senator Daines confirmed to me that he does have the ten votes necessary (for SAFE Banking Act passage). And the way he worded it was with a lot of confidence, as if he’s got more (votes) than necessary.”
Assuming a Committee markup vote receives majority support sometime over the next few weeks, a floor vote on SAFE would appear increasingly likely. The markup session allows committee members to offer modifications to the bill’s language, add or remove provisions, or make other adjustments based on their policy preferences or concerns. According to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH), “the committee will markup SAFE Banking soon.”
Once the bill reaches the Senate floor, senators can engage in debate, discussing its provisions, merits, and potential implications. Senators can offer amendments during this stage. This is where a potential chokepoint could occur if too many social justice or undesirable amendments are added, scaring off Republican Senator votes which are purportedly in the ‘Yes’ column today.
But if the industry insiders are to be believed, SAFE Banking legislation, as it currently stands in Committee, has enough support to go the distance. Of course, this assumes that every Democrat and Democrat-caucusing Senators vote in favor of the legislation on the floor.
10 Republican Votes Is Key To Passing SAFE Banking Legislation
The process of requiring 60 votes to pass a bill in the Senate refers to a procedural rule known as the filibuster. The filibuster allows senators to delay or block legislation by speaking for an extended period, effectively preventing a vote on the bill unless a supermajority of 60 senators agrees to end the debate and proceed to a final vote.
The supermajority requirement in the Senate is confusing to some people because only a simple majority is required to pass legislation in the House. The reason resides in how the nation’s Founders set up the system, which essentially forced both political parties to work together. That 60-vote threshold was designed to ensure that in order to pass legislation, the majority party needed to obtain some buy-in from the minority. The Founders wanted to force a modicum of partisanship in the legislative branch of government.
Once a bill gets to a vote on the Senate floor, it requires a simple majority of 51 votes to pass after debate has ended. However, before it can go to vote, it takes sixty votes to cut off debate, which is why a 60-vote supermajority is now considered the de facto minimum for passing legislation in the Senate.
Click on the embedded link to view the full podcast with Pelorus Capital Group Co-Founding President Rob Sechrist, in his own words.