The fight to end cannabis prohibition at the federal level is a slow grind, seemingly with one step forward preceded by another step or so back, but progress continues. The latest sign of cannabis law reform advancing are the initial drafts of U.S. House spending bills that include some much-needed provisions for the cannabis community. As usual, Marijuana Moment is on top of the reporting:
As Congress prepares large-scale legislation to fund federal agencies for the next year, marijuana reform seems to be making progress. House versions of spending bills unveiled this week include provisions to protect medical legalization laws from federal interference, ease marijuana businesses’ access to basic banking services, expand cannabis research, oversee the country’s fledgling hemp and CBD industries and finally grant Washington, D.C. the ability to legalize recreational sales.
Among the most notable inclusions in the new spending bills for Fiscal Year 2021 is a provision that would remove some roadblocks to banking and financial services for state-legal cannabis businesses. Cannabis firms have been pushing lawmakers to allow such access for years. The House has passed standalone banking legislation, later inserted into a recent coronavirus bill and approved again, but so far the matter has stalled in the Senate and is yet to become law.
The new spending rider suggests House lawmakers aren’t giving up. As introduced, the spending bill introduced Tuesday to fund fiscal and general government matters restricts Department of Treasury funds from being used “to penalize a financial institution solely because the institution provides financial services to an entity that is a manufacturer, a producer, or a person that participates in any business or organized activity that involves handling hemp, hemp-derived cannabidiol products, other hemp-derived cannabinoid products, marijuana, marijuana products, or marijuana proceeds” that is legal under state or tribal law.
It has grown tiresome to continue having debates around the need for sensible solutions to our nation’s cannabis policies, but no one ever said that political revolutions are easy. Decades upon decades of Reefer Madness propaganda and the entrenched powerful interests that have benefited from prohibition aren’t going away easily, but we are chipping away with common sense and the truth. Stay tuned as bills weave their way through Congress and be sure to contact your legislators and urge your like-minded friends and family members to do the same.