Photo of James Brandell

James Brandell is the leader of Dykema's federal government relations team. With more than 20 years of government relations experience on state, federal and international levels, Mr. Brandell has extensive experience crafting and implementing legislative and political strategy; attracting, managing and retaining talented staff; and developing and managing multimillion dollar budgets.

In 2023, historic strides were made in the efforts to pass federal legislation to protect financial institutions that do business with the cannabis industry. The SAFE Banking Act is a bill that aims to protect banks that serve legal cannabis businesses from federal penalties. The bill was first introduced in 2019 and passed the House of Representatives numerous times but stalled in the Senate during each session. That was, until this year. The Senate Banking Committee, by a notable bipartisan majority of 14-9, on September 27, passed their version of the bill (The SAFER Act) out of committee. The bill, SB. 2860 now goes to the Senate floor sometime for consideration, but roadblocks remain on its future in that chamber.Continue Reading Cannabis Banking Bill Faces Challenges as 2023 Ends, Hopes for Passage in 2024