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Scoop: Bank of America, National Rifle Association Now Lobbying on Cannabis Banking

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Bank of America and the National Rifle Association are two of the latest major entities to lobby at the federal level on cannabis issues.

Both entities included the Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act on their lobbying disclosures for the third quarter of 2023. The bill would open up the cannabis industry’s access to financial services.

The Senate Banking Committee passed the SAFER Banking Act in late September, as Cannabis Wire reported, sending it to the full Senate. The committee vote marked the first time cannabis banking legislation received a vote in the Senate, even though earlier versions of the bill cleared the House several times.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has committed to folding in two additional pieces of legislation that have been key to a compromise among Republicans and Democrats in the Senate: the Harnessing Opportunities by Pursuing Expungement (HOPE) Act, which would allocate funding for states pursuing expungements of cannabis offenses, and the Gun Rights And Marijuana (GRAM) Act, which would extend Second Amendment protections to legal cannabis consumers.

The NRA specifically included on its disclosure “S.1323” and “S.2860,” or the SAFE and SAFER Banking Acts, respectively, without indicating a position. The NRA did not respond to a request for comment by publication time. Bank of America included in its disclosure “S 2860, SAFER Banking Act, issues related to provision of financial services.”

A Bank of America spokesperson told Cannabis Wire that the financial institution has no comment on its lobbying disclosure, and no position on the bill.

Cannabis banking legislation has, as Cannabis Wire previously reported, drawn more lobbying attention than any other cannabis bill. That trend continued this quarter, with a few noteworthy new names lobbying on the issue.

CBOE, or the Chicago Board Options Exchange, one of the largest options exchanges in the world, included the SAFE Banking Act in its disclosures this year, and added its new iteration, the SAFER Banking Act, in the third quarter.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, a trade union that represents more than 600,000 workers in more than 200 industries, included support for the SAFE Banking Act in its disclosure for the first time during the third quarter of this year.

On the note of the GRAM Act, which is set to be incorporated into the SAFER push, GIFFORDS, which is former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords’ gun violence nonprofit, included the Act in its disclosure for the third quarter of 2023. (The nonprofit lobbied on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, also known as the MORE Act, in 2020.)

“Because both the GRAM Act and MORE Act would remove the federal prohibition on firearm possession and purchase for users of marijuana, congressional offices reached out to GIFFORDS to review the bill,” Mary Yatrousis, Giffords’ national press secretary, told Cannabis Wire. “However, GIFFORDS does not have a position on either bill.”

Also this quarter, several entities that previously lobbied on cannabis banking or other cannabis-related issues either reemerged or tweaked the language around their priorities.

Mastercard Worldwide first lobbied in 2019 and 2020 on cannabis banking. The company stopped including cannabis in its disclosures until this quarter, during which it reemerged to include the SAFER Banking Act.

Heritage Action for America lobbied as far back as 2018 on issues like the MORE Act and CBD. In 2021, Heritage lobbied on the SAFE Banking Act once. Now, in the third quarter of 2023, Heritage resurfaced to include SAFER in its disclosure.

GlaxoSmithKline lobbied in 2021 on specific legislation, such as “H.R. 841, Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2021,” as Cannabis Wire reported at the time. However, now, the company included more broad language in its disclosure that it lobbied in the third quarter on the “general review of FDA rulemaking and processes on cannabis, specifically CBD, and associated proposed safety standards for CBD to be lawfully marketed as a dietary supplement or food additive.”

The United States Pharmacopeial Convention previously lobbied on cannabis and hemp language in the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA), a broad cannabis legalization and regulation bill spearheaded by Schumer and Sens. Cory Booker and Ron Wyden, which has not been reintroduced in this Congress. Now, the entity has in its disclosure for the third quarter that it lobbied on “the Food and Drug Administration’s Regulation of cannabidiol products.”



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