Monday, June 17, 2024

This Senator Says Congress Needs To Catch Up With Americans, Pushes For Cannabis Banking Reform Bill

“You have people walking around with wheelbarrows full of cash,” Sen. Ron Wyden said in a July 4 interview. “That’s just a magnet for criminal activity.”

By Jelena Martinovic

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

The move came after bipartisan congressional members concluded that marijuana banking legislation will not be included in the final version of the United States Innovation and Competition Act (a/k/a The America COMPETES Act).

marijuana money
Photo by Yarygin/Getty Images

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

The bill was formally attached as an amendment to large-scale legislation dealing with innovation and manufacturing in February.

In a recent press release, Perlmutter said he will “pursue any and all legislative avenues to get SAFE Banking across the finish line this year.”

In the meantime Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) told Willamette Week that he, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) continue to push for federal cannabis reform, as they want to see their legalization bill in the works before the Senate recess, expected around August 8.

The lawmakers’ bill, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, would end the prohibition of cannabis and “ensure restorative justice, public health and implement responsible taxes and regulations.”

“You have people walking around with wheelbarrows full of cash,” Wyden said in a July 4 interview. “That’s just a magnet for criminal activity.”

Cannabis Banking Is A Priority

With the cannabis dispensary crime wave getting stronger by the day, cannabis banking continues to be a priority. In a letter to Wyden sent on June 14, Paul Rosenbaum, chairman of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission urged him to nudge Congress in the right direction.

“Enough states are engaged in some form of legalization that this should be an immediate national priority, not just a priority for our state.”

marijuana laws
Photo by Vladimir Koval/Getty Images

RELATED: Senate Rejects SAFE Act For The Sixth Time

While Wyden’s measure that bans the federal government from rejecting people’s security clearances required for employment at intelligence agencies because of prior cannabis use was recently green-lighted by the Senate Intelligence Committee, it remains to be seen what Congress will do next.

“Millions of Americans have voted for legalization,” Wyden said. “Oregonians already voted to join the 21st century. I’m going to try and get the rest of the Congress to catch up with us.”

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


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