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Cannabis banking bill approved by congressional committee (Newsletter: March 29, 2019)



FDA chief clarifies CBD enforcement; Dispensary disputes its lobbyist’s anti-homegrow testimony; Country Club Cannabis stunt

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The House Financial Services Committee approved a bill to allow marijuana businesses to access banks by a vote of 45 to 15. The panel also processed several amendments prior to passing the legislation.

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb clarified the agency’s CBD enforcement policies in response to questions from two senators during a hearing.

A lobbyist for New Hampshire medical cannabis dispensary Sanctuary ATC testified against letting patients grow their own medicine this week. But when Marijuana Moment reached out, the company said it doesn’t agree with its own lobbyist’s testimony.

The Drug Policy Alliance launched a fake brand called “Country Club Cannabis”—including a mock physical storefront in Manhattan—to make the point that “exclusive” marijuana legalization without a focus on equity for communities harmed by the drug war is not the way to go.


The Department of Justice’s inspector general issued a report criticizing the Drug Enforcement Administration’s bulk data collection programs.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. But it can’t end there. We need to invest in communities that have been impacted by the failed War on Drugs & expunge nonviolent marijuana-related convictions. #LegalizeItRight”

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) tweeted, “Right now, legal marijuana businesses must operate on a cash basis—raising significant public safety concerns. The #SAFEBankingAct will give these businesses access to much-needed banking services. Congratulations to @RepPerlmutter on passing this important bill out of committee.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Bankers, insurance providers, marijuana dispensary owners are frustrated & confused about the contradiction between state & federal laws. They operate daily under threat of federal prosecution. I proudly voted for the Secure & Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019. It’s long overdue to address this issue.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted, “45-15 vote for the marijuana banking bill in the House Financial Services Committee. Outstanding! This is an important first step in the blueprint to legalization.”

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) tweeted, “Congratulations to my friend @RepPerlmutter for passing out of the Financial Services Committee a bill that will ensure certainty for those financial institutions that bank marijuana businesses. It was a pleasure chairing the first congressional hearing on this issue.”

Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) tweeted, “Just voted to pass the SAFE Banking Act out of Cmte: 45 to 15—a historic level of bipartisan support to increase public safety relating to state-legal cannabis businesses. Proud my amendment passed unanimously and to continue the work of states like CA, CO, & WA leading the way.”

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) tweeted, “Today, @FSCDems passed bill to allow lawful state-authorized cannabis biz & their service providers to access banking services & products. Federal law shouldn’t stop these LEGAL biz owners from accessing the banking services they need. Hoping for quick passage on the House floor.”

Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) tweeted, “The Bipartisan #SAFEBankingAct (H.R. 1595) was just advanced out of committee!  As an original co-sponsor, I am happy to see this bill that provides clarity on how to support and bank with businesses associated with the cannabis industry pass the @FinancialCmte”

Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) tweeted, “Lawful cannabis businesses operate with cash only, making them vulnerable to crime. The #SAFEBankingAct addresses this public safety concern by allowing these businesses access to the banking system.”

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted, “Great news for Nevada and the nation! Legislation just passed a key House committee to free up the banking system to work with cannabis businesses that are operating legally. I’ll fight for this bill to become law.”

Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT) sent a press release about his vote in favor of marijuana banking legislation.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Legalizing cannabis needs to be about more than ending the federal prohibition – we have to make sure communities most affected by the failed #WarOnDrugs get restorative justice. #LegalizeItRight”

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) tweeted that a Drug Enforcement Administration plan to hire a contractor to incinerate seized marijuana is “a stupid waste of federal resources and taxpayer dollars. The @DEAHQ should give this cannabis to states that have legalized it.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana got one new cosponsor, for a total of 24.


Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signed a bill legally regulating kratom.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said that if the state legislature doesn’t pass a marijuana legalization bill by May he will turn his attention to medical cannabis expansion. Separately, an appeals court ruled that a case involving a cancer patient who sued his former employer after being terminated over medical cannabis use could go forward, overruling an earlier dismissal.

Vermont’s human services secretary said that any bill to legalize marijuana sales should include funding for youth prevention and education.

The New York Assembly’s majority leader thanked marijuana legalization advocates for their work.

The Ohio Senate unanimously approved a hemp bill.

The Colorado House Business Affairs and Labor Committee approved a bill to allow marijuana social consumption areas.

The Nevada Senate Committee on Revenue and Economic Development advanced legislation to require greater transparency about marijuana business license ownership.

The Montana House Taxation Committee killed a marijuana legalization bill.

Missouri regulators released draft rules for facility evaluation criteria and medical cannabis testing operations.

Michigan’s new top marijuana regulator previously ran the state’s medical cannabis program.

Florida lawmakers are considering instituting THC caps on medical cannabis.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 900 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

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The New York City Council passed resolutions calling on the state to legalize marijuana and expunge misdemeanor cannabis records.


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has overseen a bloody “war on drugs,” is being accused by a former top police official of associating with people involved in drug trafficking.

Chinese officials issued a warning about the trading of cannabis-related stocks.


A review on rheumatoid arthritis found that “cannabinoids show anti-inflammatory effects” and that “the nonpsychotropic cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD) demonstrated antiarthritic effects independent of cannabinoid receptors.”


Bedrocan International is planning to reenter the Canadian and South American markets following an arbitration decision in a case against Canopy Growth Corp.

Rhode Island medical cannabis sales are increasing year over year.


Actor Matthew McConaughey dressed as his character from the film “The Beach Bum” for a Jimmy Kimmel Live segment in which he offered people on the street marijuana products.

Former NBA player John Salley spoke about his involvement in the marijuana industry.

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Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.


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