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SAFE Banking Act May Likely Pass Ahead of Midterms

The SAFE Banking Act, aka cannabis-friendly financial legislation in the US, will be passed before November’s midterm elections.

That was the view of Jeff Schultz, partner at cannabis-focused New York law firm Feuerstein Kulick, at a Jefferies Cannabis Summit, meaning that cannabis companies be given access to banking services that have been denied even in states where the substance has been legalised for recreational or medical use.

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With Joe Biden’s Democrats in “desperate need” of a win, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) banking act is “low hanging bipartisan fruit” that they can claim victory and forward progress to voters.

Other, more comprehensive bills, such as from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s and Representative Nancy Mace, stand very little chance of being passed, Schultz said, especially.

As neither Republicans nor Democrats will let the other party champion federal cannabis legalization, Schultz said a bipartisan approach was likely to be necessary for a more comprehensive piece of cannabis legislation to be passed and enacted.

This was one of the “key takeaways” for Jefferies analysts at the conference, with others being on the M&A outlook in what has been a depressed equity market for the sector.

Distressed assets, including attractive brands, are available to those looking for acquisitions, with those well-capitalized and disciplined operators who were able to raise money in 2021 best-positioned for M&A opportunities.

M&A strategies have “not necessarily changed in this challenging environment where equity multiples by and large are depressed, but there is a greater emphasis on the need to stay patient”.

“This low valuation environment has also changed the way targets look at M&A, with a greater emphasis on performing diligence on the acquirer just as intensely as an acquirer typically performs diligence a target.”

With the cost to build a new facility far higher now than even a few months ago, given inflation, rising rates and supply chain costs, it was said that it is therefore preferable to “buy” rather than “build” cultivation facility investments at this stage — “and capital providers would be unlikely to underwrite facilities that are not already built”.

SAFE Banking Act May Likely Pass Ahead of Midterms

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