The new chairman of the Senate Banking Committee says he’s open to advancing a bill protecting banks that service state-legal marijuana businesses but it must be passed in tandem with sentencing reform legislation for drug offenses. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who recently took the top seat in his panel after Democrats secured a majority in the Senate, told reporters that he’s “willing” to move the bipartisan Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, “but with it needs to come sentencing reform.” “I don’t think we move on legalization the way that Colorado and some other states want us to unless we really look more seriously at who’s in prison for how long for those kinds of offenses and we don’t do one without the other,” he said after having a meeting with Colorado lawmakers about cannabis issues. Brown, in comments first reported by on Friday, added that if he does move forward with the SAFE Banking Act—which would prevent banks from being penalized by federal regulators simply by working with cannabis businesses—it will be done in coordination with the Senate Judiciary Committee, which would have jurisdiction over sentencing reform provisions.

Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 02/08/2021 11:55:00

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