Banking and Hemp Laws Highlight Some Big Victories for the Cannabis Community

Author and historian Joseph Marshall III stated that, “Success is rarely the result of one swell swoop, but more often the culmination of many, many small victories,” while author Chris Brogan, said, “Celebrate small victories often. Mourn failures quickly.” These quotes have stuck with me over the years and are good reminders for activists working in cannabis law reform, or any other field. The cannabis community has had victories big and small over the years, with a few major setbacks, but building upon our wins and not letting our losses detract us, have been important to our momentum.

When the end of the year winds down, there are always a rush of “Top 10” lists and cannabis is no different. Tom Angell listed his top 10 marijuana victories of 2019 in Forbes, including banking and hemp legislation. Here’s a snippet:

After decades of being swept up in broader cannabis prohibition, hemp finally became legal late last year through the 2018 Farm Bill. In response, numerous federal agencies have taken major steps in 2019 to implement the legalization of marijuana’s non-psychoactive cannabis cousin.

While the most high-profile move was the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposal in October of broad rules under which states can submit hemp regulatory plans, a number of other developments occurred following the Farm Bill’s passage.

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In other big cannabis news from Capitol Hill, the full House of Representatives voted in September to approve a bill to let banks service marijuana businesses without fear of being punished by federal regulators.

The roll call tally, 321 to 103, demonstrated broad bipartisan support for fixing an issue that industry leaders and regulators alike have pointed to as a public safety concern. Current law, by preventing many cannabis operators from being able to store their profits with financial institutions, forces them to operate on a cash-only basis and makes them targets for robberies.

The victories for the cannabis community in 2019 will certainly be a springboard into 2020 as the U.S. Senate should take up banking legislation and the federal government is expected to provide more clarity around all things hemp. We can look forward to reforms to pass in a few more states and the advances we make in 2020 will reverberate across Washington D.C., and across the country. We have made such great progress over the years, that it is easy to forget to celebrate all of our victories. Let’s not fall into that trap, let’s appreciate how far that we have come and come back in 2020 more motivated than ever before to fight for freedom and equality.

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