Thursday, August 18, 2022

Bipartisan Lawmakers Introduce Marijuana Banking Amendment To Push Passage Of National Defense Authorization Act

The measure was triggered after congressional leadership agreed to exclude marijuana banking legislation in the final version of the United States Innovation and Competition Act — America COMPETES Act.

By Joana Scopel

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), House sponsor of a bipartisan marijuana banking reform bill, filed an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would be incorporated into the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, reported Marijuana Moment.

Last week, the House Armed Services Committee marked up the 2023 version of NDAA, and now the House Rules Committee will decide which submitted amendments can be approved for its consideration.

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RELATED: Senate Rejects SAFE Act For The Sixth Time

“As I have said repeatedly, I will pursue any and all legislative avenues to get SAFE Banking across the finish line this year,” Perlmutter said in a press release. “We have a critical window of opportunity between now and the end of the year to enact common-sense cannabis reforms starting with access to the banking system. Continued inaction on this issue is dangerous and reckless, and continues to put communities, businesses, employees, and patients at risk across the country.”

The measure, sponsored by Perlmutter, who has been supporting the banking bill from the beginning, was triggered after congressional leadership agreed to exclude marijuana banking legislation in the final version of the United States Innovation and Competition Act — America COMPETES Act.

SAFE’s Purpose

Recently, during a markup of the NDAA, the House Armed Services Committee passed two amendments to a must-pass defense spending bill concerning marijuana-related issues in the U.S. military.

Last week, Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD) expressed concern about cannabis sentencing standards under the military code. Also, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), called for the Department of Defense (DOD) to lead a study into the cannabis medical efficacy over opioids.

In addition, Perlmutter noted that veterans service organizations (VSOs) endorsed the SAFE Banking Act in a letter to leadership last month.

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Photo by Olena Ruban/Getty Images

RELATED: These Congressmen Are Asking For Inclusion Of SAFE Banking In America COMPETES Act

“The call to serve should be backed by service and support when the troops come home. Offering SAFE in the NDAA is a matter of national security and preparedness and a reflection of our country’s strength,” said Gary Hess, CEO of the Veterans Alliance for Holistic Alternatives. “SAFE would help the tens of thousands of veterans who already work in the cannabis industry and protect the millions of others who are turning to it for therapeutic options and future employment opportunities.”

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.

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