Tag: Congress

U.S. House Spending Bills Includes Cannabis Banking and Other Reforms

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.

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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.

U.S. Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Protection Bill, More Progress on the Horizon

It can certainly be seen as progress when the United States Senate passes a bill that includes federal protections for states medical cannabis programs, especially with an overwhelming vote of 84 to 9. Sometimes, it is imperative to remember how far we’ve come as a nation as medical marijuana growers were still suffering through federal raids less than a decade ago. The times, they are a-changin’, but we still need more positive reforms. Fortunately, those reforms appear to be on the horizon.

It is great to see the Senate’s medical cannabis protection provision, which has been put in place every year since 2014 to prevent the Department of Justice from using any funds to interfere with state-regulated medical patients and businesses, garner such strong bipartisan support, the Senate should really follow the House’s lead and pass protections for recreational consumers and businesses as well. With the U.S. House passing a comprehensive cannabis protection bill by a 267-165 vote, flipping over 60 votes in four short years, it is easy to see that progress is on the march.

And, let’s not forget the House’s bill that will (FINALLY) provide cannabis businesses with the same banking services as any other business.  The SAFE Banking Act was passed just over a month ago, by a whopping 321-103, vote. United States Senators, let’s hurry this up, please, because we really need tax reform for the cannabis community as well.

While change comes much too slow for folks that are educated about cannabis, we can all be proud of creating positive reforms that are decreasing arrests, creating jobs, and funding schools and other important services. No one knows how long it will take to fully treat cannabis businesses like they should, but we can see the progress being made. Each step in the right direction allows cannabis businesses like Kind Leaf a chance to pass along new-found savings (on their taxes and financial fees) onto their patients and customers.