Lawmakers are poised to send a bill to the House floor that would allow banks to provide services to legal marijuana businesses.
The House Financial Services Committee is slated to vote on the measure Wednesday, in what is seen as a turning point for industry groups who have long pushed for the legislation.
Similar legislation was first introduced six years ago, but in recent months the idea has gained bipartisan support and the backing of heavy hitters on K Street and in the business world who see it as essential to bringing a growing industry into the financial mainstream.
Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) is pushing ahead on the measure despite calls from the panel’s top Republican, Rep. Patrick McHenry (N.C.), to delay a vote to address conservative concerns. The issue is also one that has Waters on the same side as big banks, a group she has been a vocal critic of.
“We’re making progress with this legislation and marking it up this week is the appropriate thing to do. Let’s keep the process moving forward,” said Terry Holt, a spokesperson for National Cannabis Roundtable (NCR) and a partner at HDMK. The NCR, a prominent advocacy group for the legal pot industry, has pushed for the bill and boasts former Speaker John Boehner(R-Ohio) as honorary chairman.
But despite the optimism, the legislation will need to overcome several challenging hurdles before becoming law.
“You have this whole slew of issues that are out there, from the left, the right, the middle,” Michael Williams, founder of the Williams Group, told The Hill.
“On the left, this doesn’t go far enough,” he said, while on the right, “you have the Republicans who say we shouldn’t be doing this at all because it actually hints towards decriminalization.” Read more