Republicans are showing a more lenient stance on federal marijuana reform, potentially paving the way for its realization.

A bipartisan bill aimed at expanding banking services for legal marijuana businesses is slated for discussion in a committee hearing at the end of this month, according to sources deeply involved in the legislative process.

The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee is expected to convene a markup session for the bill, known as the SAFE Banking Act, during the week of September 25th, as confirmed by three insiders with knowledge of the negotiations. The markup process, which enables senators to deliberate and consider amendments, is seen as a pivotal step toward advancing the bill to the Senate floor.

There is support for the bill from both Republicans and Democrats on the committee, and they express confidence that it will garner enough backing to pass the Senate when it eventually reaches a full vote—a commitment made by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, who intends to bring it to a vote this fall.

Senator Steve Daines of Montana voiced optimism, stating, "We've got enough votes to get it passed," and added, "I'm cautiously optimistic we may have something before the end of the month."

The SAFE Banking Act seeks to legalize the utilization of major financial and banking institutions by legal marijuana enterprises. Under the current law, financial institutions and creditors risk federal prosecution if they provide services to legal marijuana businesses, which has left business owners unable to utilize banking services due to marijuana remaining prohibited at the federal level.

"I want to see a strong vote come out of the committee," said the committee's chair, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who also noted, "It helps us with momentum on the floor and the House."

Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, one of eight Republican co-sponsors of the bill, expressed confidence, stating, "I feel pretty good about passing the bill."

In addition to Senators Daines and Cramer, Republican Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Susan Collins of Maine have lent their support to the bill.

The fate of the bill in the House remains less certain, despite strong support from Republicans in leadership roles, including Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California, who had previously voted in favor of the bill. McCarthy has not indicated whether he will prioritize the effort this time, given the delicate nature of his speakership owing to a narrow majority.

Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, initially expected to formally endorse the legislation this week, ultimately refrained from doing so after facing opposition from law enforcement officials and conservative groups in his home state, according to a source familiar with his decision.

"Coach supports the bill and will support it as it goes through the process, including on the floor," said Steve Stafford, a spokesperson, alluding to Tuberville's past as the football coach at Auburn University.

A political organization called Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action, which opposes marijuana legalization, urged Tuberville to oppose the legislation in a recent letter. The group argued that, "Marijuana is particularly dangerous for young people, a group you have demonstrated great care for in your career as a college coach. Your support for the SAFE Banking Act is equivalent to supporting the federal legalization of marijuana and would send a dangerous message to young people who look up to you as a role model."