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Rand Paul Mocks Democrats For Failing To Pass Marijuana Banking In Annual Festivus Grievances List

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) kept up his “Festivus” tradition on Thursday, marking the Seinfeld-popularized holiday with an airing of grievances that includes slamming Democrats for failing to advance marijuana banking reform despite having a congressional majority and control of the presidency.

This is at least the fifth time that Paul has talked about cannabis in his annual Twitter thread.

“Democrats control the House, Senate and White House and we still can’t get cannabis banking reform bills passed,” he wrote, referencing the bipartisan Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. That bill has cleared the House in some form five times, but disagreement among Democrats over marijuana policy priorities derailed the latest attempt to pass it as part of a large-scale defense bill.

“This should be a complete no brainer, as so many states have legalized now and we need business to operate,” he said. “I would go much further and end the federal war on a plant entirely, but at LEAST let legal business operate as legal business.”

“It probably doesn’t help that the two Democrat leaders are almost as old as the movie Reefer Madness, and clearly gave it two thumbs up when they watched it,” he said, apparently referencing Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

For what it’s worth, Schumer is pro-legalization and finalizing a comprehensive reform bill, but SAFE Banking supporters say he was principally responsible for keeping the modest legislation out of the National Defense Authorization Act.

“The war on cannabis is among the many dumb things Congress does, but it’s by no means the dumbest,” he wrote. “Every year hundreds of billions of your dollars are wasted.”

Last year, Paul’s marijuana-related Festivus grievance concerned $3 million in spending on studies that investigated the cannabis edible consumption habits of older people living in San Francisco. He included that in a government “Waste Report.”

“Really. They must not have spent a lot of time around people who love cannabis. You do NOT need to pay them to talk about it,” he joked. “What’s next, government funding to get people to post more about their CrossFit and Keto programs?”

In 2018, the senator ended his Festivus Twitter thread on a positive note, mentioning that he was able to work with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and exchange “some thoughts about bipartisan reforms we could work on, like hemp legalization and criminal justice reforms.”

He followed up on that policy in a thread the next year, noting that he collaborated with then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on agriculture legislation that included provisions federally legalizing hemp, “which has been a pretty big success.”

“But you should have seen the first meeting we had where I explained what hemp was to Mitch,” he added. “He was very concerned that people could smoke hemp and get high (you can’t). I told him well maybe but it would have to be the size of a telephone pole. I think he’s still confused.”

Back in 2013, Paul Paul suggested to Booker that they work on mandatory minimum sentencing reform, to which Booker replied, “Yes, If u throw in reforming Fed Hemp & Marijuana laws u’ve got a deal!”

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Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore.

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Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Sacramento-based senior editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.

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