Efforts are under way in Congress to modify anti-marijuana laws, including legalizing access to banks for marijuana businesses, an advocacy group reports.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is pushing to have criminal justice reform provisions added to a proposed marijuana-banking bill, according to a May 19 story by Marijuana Moment Politics.
The Senate Banking Committee held hearings on the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act this May, which would enable cannabis businesses to access critical banking infrastructure.
The article reported that Schumer wants to include criminal justice reform provisions centered around equity, such as expungements, in the bill to help repair the harms of the war on drugs.
The bill failed to pass last year due to last minute opposition, but Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said that senators planned to “move quickly” on the resurrected SAFE Banking Act.
Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) would like the act to allow cannabis business access to Federal Small Business Administration Services, MMP reported.
There is yet to be full alignment among advocates for the bill beyond the call for expungements. One coalition has requested financial protections to permit the businesses access to the U.S. stock exchange, which other proponents claim would be inappropriate while efforts to legalize marijuana have been stalled in Congress.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), lead sponsor of the latest version of the SAFE Banking Act, told MMP that he thinks it is important that all parties involved agree on proposals to end the drug war, warning against an “all or nothing” mentality.
Insurance and union organizations across the U.S. called for passage of the legislation in recent letters to congressional leadership, as did the American Bankers Association, the story reported.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), said that failure to advance a banking fix for the industry “literally means that hundreds of businesses go out of business.”