A Cannabis Banking Measure Has Been Approved By The House
Earlier this week The U.S. House of Representatives greenlit a defense bill with a cannabis banking amendment. This measure would help to defend financial institutions that work with legal marijuana businesses from federal regulators. This marijuana banking amendment, passed with a voice vote with no member of the house asking for a roll call. The SAFE Banking Act is now a part of a bigger defense spending bill.
The decision to pass this legislation was made after the House Rules Committee made in order the amendment from Rep. Ed Perlmutter. Which was done to be considered for a floor vote. It was one of many drug policy recommendations that legislators had hoped to attach to the National Defense Authorization Act.
“This will strengthen the security of our financial system in our country by keeping bad actors like foreign cartels out of the cannabis industry. But most importantly, this amendment will reduce the risk of violent crime in our communities,” Perlmutter said on the floor ahead of the vote. “By dealing in all cash, these businesses and their employees become targets for robberies, assaults, burglaries, and more.”
“This is a public safety and a national security matter—very germane to the issues at hand, dealing with foreign cartels and particularly the cash that is developed by this business that leads to crime,” he added.
Rep. Mike Rogers said he considers the proposal to be a “fine piece of legislation,” but argued that it’s more appropriate as standalone legislation, rather than as an add-on to NDAA.
“I think what [Perlmutter is] trying to accomplish is admirable and should be accomplished, but not in the National Defense Authorization Act,” he said.
The Next Step For Marijuana Banking In The USA
However, Rep. Warren Davidson made the argument for adding the cannabis amendment in the national security bill.
“I think the reason it was ruled germane by the parliamentarian is the cartels control the drug trade in the United States. And while most states have made some legal form for marijuana, the cartels still dominate the market,” he said. “And part of the reason is the cash is in the black market. Legal operations in many states cannot be banked… This is preventing us from stopping the cartels.”
Rep. Lou Correa also stood in favor of the legislation, saying that “cannabis customers and businesses are law-abiding citizens and entities, yet they have to pay their employees, their bills and their federal taxes with cash. It just does not make sense.”
With the passing banking proposal again this makes the 5th time that the House has done so. Which has experienced broad support both as standalone legislation. In addition to being added in as provisions of broader reform. Yet while advocates back the bill some have made other points as well. For instance, advocates want to make better comprehensive changes to cannabis laws.
Some legislators from the Senate have spoken with a different plan of action. These lawmakers feel that concerns with cannabis banking should be handled by ending marijuana prohibition The debate among legislators is it’s improper to pass what is seen as an industry-focused reform. Meaning the bill is something that directly aids businesses and investors of the industry. On the flip side, it also leaves out resolutions of the harms of decades of racially disparate prohibition enforcement. To which advocates are pushing for more people to promote social equity.
Will Marijuana Banking Make It Past The Senate?
Chuck Schumer along with Cory Booker and Ron Wyden are finalizing their own federal cannabis reform bill. Sen. Booker has said he would take action to stop anyone from passing cannabis banking. before federal reform is passed. Mainly with a priority to pass social justice-focused legalization legislation
Additionally, Schumer explained in a past interview that passing the SAFE Banking Act first could endanger support for broader legislation. The thought is that Republicans and conservative Democrats who are not in favor of policy change might be less likely to vote for it. Especially if they have a chance to pass an easier measure to help with financial services for the industry.
Remember the cannabis banking legislation is not directly attached to defense-related issues. So it’s likely Perlmutter and other advocates see the must-pass NDAA. Which be done as a possible medium for the legislation that could make its way through the Senate.
At the start of the week during a meeting of the Rules Committee about NDAA Adam Smith recognized some things. The House Armed Services Committee Chairman pointed out that the annual legislation has been used as a means to pass non-germane legislation in the past.
Final Thoughts On The House Approving The SAFE Banking Act.
He didn’t explicitly cite the cannabis banking proposal. Rather Perlmutter himself stated earlier in the meeting that “whether something is superfluous is always in the eyes of the beholder,”. This highlighted that he feels his measure’s germaneness defined this way is up for interpretation.
Smith said that “whatever superfluous items the Rules Committee decides to put in order and get attached to this bill, we go to conference, and in conference, we work in a bipartisan fashion.”
“We’re not going to pull one over on anybody here. We’re going to have to work with committees of jurisdiction—not just the chairs, but the ranking members as well—to come to some agreement on those before we go forward,” he said. “So if you see an item that you consider to be superfluous being added to the bill, don’t freak out.”
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