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Thursday, February 2, 2023

After a week of hope, the SAFE Banking Act dies again in the Senate

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Cannabis legalization advocates have learned over the years not to get our hopes up too high about change at the federal level. but damn it, This seemed really close.

Starting last week, the Internet It started to light up With news stories and commentary from supporters of cannabis legalization. Despite years of disappointment, they seemed optimistic that change was imminent. Congress experienced a lame duck session in early December — that rare moment when politicians are free to vote their conscience with little fear of being bitten on Election Day.

Maybe, just maybe, the US Senate might include three bills in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that need to be passed:

But then the enthusiasm faded. Lawmakers released the text of the NDAA on Tuesday night, and the language for cannabis reform was nowhere to be found.

Read on to find out what the bills contain, what happened to the bills, and what could happen next.


The murder changed my mind: now pass the SAFE Banking Act

What’s in these three bills?

The bills have huge ramifications for the cannabis industry.

Safe It will enable cannabis businesses to benefit from banking services, including loans. It would also allow customers to make purchases with credit cards, reducing the amount of cash carried by businesses, and thus – hopefully – reducing pot shop robberies, including murders. The US House of Representatives has passed the bill six times (yes, you read that correctly) but the Senate has failed to pass it even once, despite bipartisan support.

hopefull It will provide grants to states in order to offset the financial burden of dealing with exclusions. The bill was introduced by Representatives Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Dave Joyce (R-Ohio), co-chair of the House Cannabis Caucus.

loveintroduced by the late Representative and former co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus Don Young (R-AK) would allow Americans with firearms to legally own marijuana.

WTF event with NDAA?

Despite bipartisan support for these bills, GOP leaders stood in the way of their inclusion in the NDAA.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) He explained his position during a speech on Tuesday.

“Just as Republicans have insisted, just as our service members deserve, this NDAA is not being dragged down by liberal nonsense that has nothing to do with it,” McConnell said. “Good smart policies were kept and unrelated nonsense like easier financing of illegal drugs was left out.”

“I am glad that this Democratic-led Congress has finally realized that defending America is a primary duty of governance. It is not a priority for Republicans for Democrats to demand things that have nothing to do with it,” he added.

Other GOP senators—including backers of the bills—argued that the defense spending bill was simply not the right vehicle to pass it.

“It dilutes the proper role of this place,” Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), a co-sponsor of SAFE, said. he told Politico.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) I met with representatives of the Ministry of Justice this weekand came out unmoved in his decision to oppose SAFE.

What’s next for these bills?

The reform supporters have only a few cards left in their hands for 2022: including the language from the bills in The next comprehensive government spending bill may be a viable option.

Rep. Earl Perlmutter (D-CO) — a veteran champion of cannabis reform — has announced his intention to lobby for politics there. “I’m not giving up on this darn thing yet,” he is He said Wednesday.

However, Senator McConnell, for one, has made it clear that he would likewise oppose policies in the sweeping package as the NDAA. All legalization advocates left is hope.

In addition, the package could also technically clear the Senate as an independent vote. While Politico’s Natalie Fertig reported While many GOP senators believe the 60-vote threshold can be crossed, insiders are less confident that they will have sufficient time to schedule a vote before the session ends next Thursday, December 16.


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