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Senate Advances SAFER Banking Act amid Opposition; Cannabis Stocks Respond

The bill’s advancement, however, is met with opposition by oldest serving member of Congress.

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The Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act made some important progress in the Senate Wednesday. The Senate Banking Committee endorsed the bill with a 14-9 vote, allowing it to move to the full chamber.

Introduced last week by a bipartisan group, including Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the legislation seeks to provide the marijuana industry with access to banking services by offering protection to financial institutions that serve state-sanctioned marijuana businesses.

However, the bill faces opposition, reports Benzinga. Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the oldest serving member of Congress, advocates for a shift in focus towards the opioid crisis and stricter controls on substances like fentanyl, expressing concern that relaxing cannabis regulations could inadvertently aid criminal organizations.

Meanwhile, Schumer sees the bill as an opportunity to integrate cannabis businesses into mainstream banking, thereby fostering entrepreneurship and job growth. With the cannabis industry anticipated to reach $33.6 billion by 2023, significant challenges lie ahead, especially in the GOP-majority House.

After the Senate vote announcement, there was notable volatility in U.S.-listed cannabis stocks, reflecting the ongoing political debate. Initial surges were followed by reversals, with Canopy Growth (WEED.TO) declining 4%, Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) falling 4.7%, Cronos Group (CRON.TO) dropping 1.9%, and SNDL Inc (SNDL.O) losing 1%.

In contrast, Curaleaf Holdings Inc (CURA.CD) rose 3.7%, while Tilray Brands (TLRY.O) remained flat. Cannabis-linked exchange-traded funds (ETFs) also showed variability; the AdvisorShares Pure US Cannabis ETF (MSOS.P) dipped 0.6%, while the Roundhill Cannabis ETF (WEED.Z) gained 2.6%.

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