The SAFE cannabis banking bill is currently in the spotlight in the U.S. Senate. For this reason alone, cannabis investors will attach great significance to the “private lunch” that took place between “marijuana, hemp and CBD stakeholders” and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Given McConnell’s outspoken stance against cannabis (“marijuana”) legalization, the mere fact that McConnell is meeting with “marijuana” industry representatives is of great significance alone.
Let’s read between the lines here.
SAFE is currently before the Senate. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), Republican Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee is already tentatively on board with SAFE. A majority of Republican voters now favor full cannabis legalization.
McConnell could very well be getting some internal pressure from the Republican Party to soften his anti-cannabis stance.
Not full legalization. That’s still too large a leap for many Republican politicians in 2019.
Also, by not legalizing cannabis now (nationally), this allows Donald Trump to score political points in the 2020 election by making cannabis legalization one of his priorities. This would prevent Democrats from making “cannabis legalization” a vote-getter for their candidates.
Conversely, passage of SAFE also allows Republicans to dodge the accusation that they are completely “obstructionist” when it comes to overhauling the U.S.’s archaic (and absurd) cannabis laws. SAFE would be an important incremental step forward.
The 2020 election nears. With voter support for cannabis legalization steadily rising, it’s important for the Republican Party to be able to point some national progress in phasing out cannabis Prohibition.
It is very positive news that the U.S.’s Senate Majority Leader has met with cannabis industry representatives. It’s a tangible signal that SAFE may get less resistance than expected in the Republican-held Senate.
It’s also a sign of the times. Even Mitch McConnell, the Grim Reaper himself, can no longer afford to completely snub the legal cannabis industry. Indeed, within McConnell’s safe Republican perch in the state of Kentucky, there are rumblings that the Senate Majority Leader could be vulnerable.
Cannabis is a “hot-button issue” with U.S. voters for the first time in a long time. But the sentiment now isn’t a desire to punish “pot-heads”. Rather, it’s the firm, national (bipartisan) opinion that it’s time for cannabis Prohibition to end.
The cannabis industry needs the support of Mitch McConnell (at least until 2020). Mitch McConnell may need to generate some goodwill with the U.S. cannabis industry. Stay tuned.