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Congress Races To Reach Cannabis Reform Deal In Lame-Duck Session

November 29, 2022

The clock is ticking for U.S. legislators to make a deal on cannabis reform in the post-election lame-duck session, seen as a critical deadline before the balance of power shifts in the House of Representatives. The challenge, as ever, remains the ability to create a package that combines cannabis banking reform with social justice measures in a way acceptable to both business leaders and social equity advocates.

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer recently met with key lawmakers of both parties including senators Sherrod Brown, Steve Daines, and Jeff Merkley to discuss the way forward, Politico reported. Brown said he was optimistic an agreement could be reached, adding that his focus is on improving the existing Safe Banking Act that has repeatedly passed the house with more protections for workers in the industry.

Meanwhile, Daines said Republicans could potentially back the bipartisan HOPE Act, which was introduced in the house and would offer states grants to pursue their own expungement of past cannabis offenses. Now the question is whether lawmakers can thread the needle in the few remaining weeks of the session, or if broad cannabis reform will again be kicked down the road.

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