Senate Majority Leader
The proposal from Schumer, Senate Finance Chair
“America is on our side,” Schumer said at a news conference Wednesday, where he vowed to make passage of the legislation a priority. “Seventy percent of Americans support legalizing adult use of marijuana.”
Wyden called it “cannabis reform done right.”
Even so, cannabis stocks
It goes beyond mere decriminalization, which President Joe Biden said he supported during the campaign, and that may be a difficult vote for Democrats from more conservative states -- as well as for many Republicans.
“The reality is there just aren’t the votes for comprehensive reform. This will get whittled and beaten down,” said
Harrison said that the provisions allowing cannabis firms access to the banking system and listing on U.S. stock exchanges likely will survive. “It’s the only thing that has buy-in from all sides,” he said.
Booker said he is open to compromise, but won’t stand for a narrow banking-only legislation that would ignore issues of “restorative justice.”
“I have no patience for people who just want to get some ease in the banking regulations so that their profits could go up, who don’t give a damn about people in communities that really struggled with this,” Booker said.
Taking marijuana off the list of controlled substances, rather than simply re-listing it as a less dangerous drug or decriminalizing possession, would remove the most difficult regulatory burdens from U.S. marijuana companies. It would allow them to take tax deductions, hold bank accounts, get loans and list on U.S. stock exchanges.
Schumer acknowledged the bill’s supporters don’t have the necessary votes yet, but that the group will lobby colleagues in Congress and ask the White House for support.
‘Comprehensive and Thoughtful’
But he said there’s a lack of clarity about how state and federal authorities will interact on key areas like the licensing of cannabis producers, and there’s no mention of how interstate commerce will work.
“That’s the big kahuna,” Kline said in a phone interview. “From my position, we can’t just flip a switch, there needs to be harmonization between state and federal law.”
The tax rate it calls for -- 25%, which would be layered on top of state taxes that are already 25% in some jurisdictions -- is simply too high, he said.
“I understand why the federal government wants the revenue to pay for social justice initiatives and regulatory costs, but if we could get that tax rate down to a more manageable number, that would encourage people to buy from the regulated market,” he said.
The bill’s most salient challenge may be that it’s not the political compromise that many had hoped for, Cowen analyst
“We believe this legislation is designed to fail. It is close to everything that progressives want, while providing little reason for Republican senators to back the measure,” he wrote. Seiberg predicts that once Schumer is ready to move beyond this broad bill, an expanded version of a prior bill that focused solely on banking -- the SAFE Act -- could pass in the second half of 2022.
Until then, he said, the bill looks merely like “a political effort designed to boost Schumer and other Democratic senators in the 2022 primary and general election fights.”
(Updates to include cannabis stocks’ reaction.)
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