Marijuana Banking Bill Picks Up Momentum
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Marijuana Banking Bill Picks Up Momentum
Posted by CN Staff on March 28, 2019 at 06:20:24 PT
By Alex Gangitano 
Source: Hill
Washington, D.C. -- Lawmakers are poised to send a bill to the House floor that would allow banks to provide services to legal marijuana businesses. The House Financial Services Committee is slated to vote on the measure Wednesday, in what is seen as a turning point for industry groups who have long pushed for the legislation.Similar legislation was first introduced six years ago, but in recent months the idea has gained bipartisan support and the backing of heavy hitters on K Street and in the business world who see it as essential to bringing a growing industry into the financial mainstream.
Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) is pushing ahead on the measure despite calls from the panel’s top Republican, Rep. Patrick McHenry (N.C.), to delay a vote to address conservative concerns. The issue is also one that has Waters on the same side as big banks, a group she has been a vocal critic of.“We’re making progress with this legislation and marking it up this week is the appropriate thing to do. Let’s keep the process moving forward,” said Terry Holt, a spokesperson for National Cannabis Roundtable (NCR) and a partner at HDMK. The NCR, a prominent advocacy group for the legal pot industry, has pushed for the bill and boasts former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) as honorary chairman.But despite the optimism, the legislation will need to overcome several challenging hurdles before becoming law.“You have this whole slew of issues that are out there, from the left, the right, the middle,” Michael Williams, founder of the Williams Group, told The Hill.“On the left, this doesn’t go far enough,” he said, while on the right, “you have the Republicans who say we shouldn’t be doing this at all because it actually hints towards decriminalization.”Federal law currently prevents financial institutions from banking for cannabis businesses. That leaves many businesses that are legal thanks to state laws unable to access banks and credit unions.The SAFE Banking Act, introduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) with 132 Democratic and 12 Republican co-sponsors, would allow banks to work with dispensaries, growers and other cannabis businesses, bringing traditionally cash enterprises into the financial system. Perlmutter first introduced similar legislation in 2013 and has offered bills in every Congress since.The bill has some powerful groups backing it. This year, the American Bankers Association (ABA) came out in favor of the bill, urging Congress to clear up what is a confusing situation for banks.“The American Bankers Association does not take a position on the legalization of cannabis, but the conflict between state and federal law is challenging for banks in communities that are encouraging them to bank cannabis-related businesses because of the public safety concerns that arise when they don’t have access to the banking system,” Ian McKendry, spokesman for the ABA, told The Hill. “The SAFE Banking Act would provide some clarity for banks operating in the 33 states that have legalized some form of cannabis.”Joseph Lynyak, a partner at Dorsey & Whitney, said cutting out any gray areas is a priority for banks.“Banks don’t like uncertainties, they like clear-cut, bright-line tests easily and correctly applied. I think we need to recognize the fact that, like it or not, this is now turning into an agriculture industry and we need to be treating it like that,” he told The Hill.The pressure to pass the legislation is coming from a wide range of business groups.The American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), an insurance industry group, says the bill is just a first step.“[It ensures] the needed clarity for insurers that wish to provide financial services in states that have legalized marijuana,” Wesley McClelland, vice president of federal government relations at the APCIA, told The Hill. “We hope to continue working with the bill sponsors and supporters to address the larger set of issues that insurers face as more states look to legalize marijuana.”The bill is expected to pass the committee on Wednesday, with K Street watchers predicting a House floor vote in May. Supporters say their priority is building support ahead of the House vote to give the bill momentum. The bill faces an uphill climb in the GOP-controlled Senate. A spokesperson for Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) declined to comment on the bill to The Hill last month on whether the panel would take up the bill. Idaho has not legalized cannabis.“How much political capital is [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell going to want to expend on this? A lot of that is going to be dictated by how big the House vote is, quite frankly,” said Williams said.“If it’s a squeaker, if you get 238 votes, I don’t think that sends a strong enough signal. But if you get 300 votes, that’s a little bit different,”Lynyak said marijuana advocates may have to wait until after 2020 to see action in the upper chamber.“The first year of the next administration, whether it’s Trump’s or somebody else’s, is when it can probably pass,” he said.But Lynyak noted the bill could find some unlikely allies.“McConnell was a lead figure in legalizing the growing and transportation of hemp, which indicates that there is certainly some movement on the Republican side,” Lynyak said. “Reform in this area may be something that could become bipartisan.”He noted that GOP Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.) is also a supporter of decriminalization.Overcoming opposition from conservative lawmakers is a major challenge. They oppose the bill for a number of reasons, including the definition of “financial services.”“The most important one is that the bill talks about being able to provide financial services to a cannabis company—but the definition of what is meant by ‘financial services’ is financial services being provided to a consumer as oppose to a commercial enterprise,” Lynyak said.Also, banking with cannabis firms requires a great deal of time and expense to comply with rules. But Lynyak worries the bill would do little to loosen up existing regulations. And there are questions about whether the bill’s safe harbor provisions, aimed at protecting investing in cannabis businesses, are broad enough.The APCIA is teaming up with five other groups, including the American Land Title Association and the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, to back an amendment from Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) that would include insurers in the safe harbor provisions. There are also concerns from the left, which wants the bill to take steps toward decriminalizing marijuana.“On the left, you have members who say this is a half measure and we should be doing more,” Williams said. But he noted that those matters are outside the scope of the Financial Services Committee.“It’s a weird juxtaposition because you’ve got Democrats who are making the argument that Republicans usually make on states’ rights and you’ve got Republicans who say well no, the federal government should be the decider in this because either its legal or it’s not.”For now, supporters are looking to keep building momentum as the legislation moves ahead.Holt said the NCR knows reform will take more than one bill.“The roundtable was launched to tackle a number of cannabis reforms, and we’re not going to solve our problems in one piece of legislation,” he said.Source: Hill, The (US DC)Author: Alex GangitanoPublished: March 27, 2019Copyright: 2019 The HillContact: editor thehill.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #14 posted by afterburner on April 11, 2019 at 12:51:08 PT
Soup_Herb #10 & 11
I too am angry that you have been so mistreated by your government. I was shocked that Andy Harris was so intent on interfering in the District of Columbia vote. And denying your application and then expecting you to pay twice is very unfair and dishonest. We have struggled for years to get legal cannabis in Canada. The government here has been very reluctant to accept even medical cannabis. Periodic court trials have slowly granted some access to patients, but still require much red tape (including yearly renewal of patient permission). Even so-called recreational (or social) cannabis legalization in Canada has been couched in negative health warnings and excessive fines and penalties. The stated goal of adult-use cannabis legalization is to replace the entire illegal cannabis industry with all new government-approved suppliers and vendors. The black market has been fighting in court and at the ballot box to achieve legal status for decades, only to be shut out of the legal market and treated as if everyone involved is exploiting the public with unsafe products.The fight is still ongoing, but lack of legal supplies has caused gray-market dispenseries to greatly reduce prices and to increase availability. So, the activists continue to press the government for better access and hope that a future government will not repeal the current legalization.
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Comment #13 posted by Soup Herb on April 11, 2019 at 12:17:23 PT:
I love You Guys
Love the comment Mr. Tyler. Profound.Yes, it's always about the money=power.
Boldly enough to say but, nobody really cares about cannabis and people using it. It has always been about money, power, control. Cannabis happened to get in their way going forward with the petroleum based society the world has adopted.
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Comment #12 posted by John Tyler on April 11, 2019 at 08:52:11 PT
Golden Rule
This reminds me of the pirate character, Long John Silver, in the novel Treasure Island, telling the clueless nobleman about the “Golden Rule”. He said, “Thems whats gots the gold, makes the rules, Your Lordship, Sir”. (That was in dialect and not typos.)That’s as true as it ever was. We, the 99%, have to keep a constant vigil on the elected reps and keep our voices heard (at the ballot box and peacefully in the street if necessary) and hope and pray for the best.
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Comment #11 posted by Soup Herb on April 11, 2019 at 06:55:03 PT:
My point in real life article!
Could not believe I saw this!
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Comment #10 posted by Soup Herb on April 11, 2019 at 04:43:09 PT:
I was hoping too!
Mr. Afterburner, thank you for a response. I feel much better after clarification(s).
BUT, this passive aggressive disposition of complete control over how to grow and distribute and use in the states that are going against Federal Law is NOT the kind of " looking forward to what possible future might hold if the current round of Legalization proposals opens more eyes to see more freedom and more sharing."
Obstructionism is in full play by the corporate entities and they will fight to the end to keep profits and eliminate competitions like hemp products. They are scared to death of losing business. As well the governments are too! They say one thing and do another...personal experience is I could not get a MMJ card in MD because of bureaucratic stops.
I paid 200$ and something went wrong. At 64 and chronic pain this to me was a scam from the beginning and I have seen the same gov. control all over the world! The war is on. Money is the goal for one side, freedom of choice is on the other side. I never received a card but rather an email comes from the MMCC of MD to reassure me if I go back to where I was being evaluated that I would surely be certified! LIARS! I was skeptical so I called not once but two times to clarify being certified to purchase and both times I was garaunteed a resounding yes. So I went back, reluctantly. Immediately the clerk had no idea why I was there without an appointment and that if I wanted certification and a card I would have to pay another 200$. No way I was paying another 200$ to these state regulated thieves!!!!!!!!  It is corrupt, they are stealing voters and supporters money and the sales is as bad and stagnant as if no one was issued a card for purchasing at a dispensary.
Needless to say they are forcing the Black Market to flourish and grow. 
Prohibition is probably a college major now at conservative red states. That's how bad the war is now! Again I am the victim.
During the time of peoples wishes to take away the criminal aspect and inset the idea of medical help has turned up the ironic. Greedy so and so' what it's about you know...
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Comment #9 posted by afterburner on April 10, 2019 at 19:59:07 PT
Soup_Herb #8
I agree with you at least 90%. Such is the divide-&-conquer mentality of the controllers. That's why I was counseling against a constitutional convention at this time of divided populations, attacks on divergent thought and talk. We would lose way too much social fabric.I am looking forward to what possible future might hold if the current round of Legalization proposals opens more eyes to see more freedom and more sharing.
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Comment #8 posted by Soup Herb on April 10, 2019 at 14:20:39 PT:
Many thanks to you FoM. This site is a huge help!Mr. Afterburner, I respect your opinion. I just do not see it as you...
Corporations dictate who is elected, who runs, who wins, what laws are made and when.
They have so much money they own both parties and the DOJ and working on the SC!!!!
As there occasionally some variables but the money does ALL the talking.
This is THE division everyone. It's is not Black/White. 
Money rules the day criminally and legally(sort of).
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Comment #7 posted by afterburner on April 05, 2019 at 10:39:55 PT
Soup Herb #4 Corporations Are Creatures of the Law
Although multinational Corporations act as if they are above the law, they are creatures of the law created by national permission. Since most of them have abandoned Good Will with the people, they need to be reminded that their rules of incorporation or future incorporation could be changed by the government that permitted them to come into existence.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on April 05, 2019 at 09:49:45 PT
Soup Herb
Thank you for the article and yes it is! No way will we go backwards anymore.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on April 05, 2019 at 09:48:19 PT
Dr. Russo
Hope, He is wonderful!
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Comment #4 posted by Soup Herb on April 04, 2019 at 05:58:25 PT:
Urugway after 5 years!!!!!
Read the truth... that the Prohibitionists reach is world wide and strong.
Obstruction and prohibition are the fundamental paths corporations are making governments all over the world use.
It is a war against greed over humanity...Go figure.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on April 03, 2019 at 18:38:43 PT
John Tyler Comment 1
That's very true!
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on April 03, 2019 at 16:31:16 PT
Our old friend, Dr. Ethan Russo!
CBD & CANNABIS DOSAGE GUIDE Russo is mentioned way down in the article. I think there is a link to an interview with him. He has dedicated so much of himself to understanding cannabis and the endocannabinoid system. He listened to people and their "Anecdotal evidence" and knew there was something rather amazing about the cannabis plant and its effect on some people. He's very smart and empathetic. He always seemed to me to be a kind and good man. He had compassion for the patients who said cannabis helped them and he listened to their stories. I'm honored to have listened to his counsel and knowledge of the cannabis plant.It takes a lot of bravery to be some kind of pioneer genius. He risked a lot. I hope and pray he is thriving.
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Comment #1 posted by John Tyler on March 29, 2019 at 07:33:19 PT
Understanding and not understanding
“Some Republicans say we shouldn’t be doing this at all because it actually hints towards decriminalization”. These Republicans don’t understand the issue. We are not “hinting” about decriminalization. We are demanding full legalization. Over sixty percent of the public say it is time for re-legalization. If the prohibitionist can’t understand this, maybe they should be replaced with representatives who do understand. You know the old saying, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way”.
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