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Treasury secretary talks cannabis banking benefits (Newsletter: December 2, 2021)

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Congressional Black Caucus Foundation marijuana internships; Groups urge cannabis banking in NDAA; Austin decrim ballot initiative; VA access push

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen said “of course” the Internal Revenue Service’s job of collecting taxes would be easier if marijuana businesses could access the banking system. She was responding to a question from Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) at a hearing.

A coalition of groups—including the American Bankers Association, United Food and Commercial Workers Union, National Association of REALTORS and National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies— sent a letter urging the Senate to pass marijuana banking through the National Defense Authorization Act.

The bipartisan co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus sent a letter urging Veterans Affairs Sec. Denis McDonough to allow medical marijuana access for military vets “as soon as possible.” He recently said the department is considering a policy change.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and U.S. Cannabis Council are partnering on an internship program to place rising black leaders at top marijuana companies like Weedmaps, Curaleaf, Columbia Care and Canopy Growth.

Austin, Texas activists submitted what they say is more than enough signatures to put a marijuana decriminalization measure on the city’s May 2022 ballot.

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to dismiss legal challenges to the agency’s hemp rules.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “Marijuana prohibition has disproportionately harmed young people of color. NY’s taken important steps to address these harms. We’re working to pass the Cannabis Administration & Opportunity Act to bring the progress we’ve made in NY to the federal level.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said he doesn’t see a path to add marijuana banking to the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act due to opposition from leadership.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) tweeted, “#SAFEBanking has broad bipartisan support in both chambers. Enacting this bill now as part of the NDAA is just the tip of the iceberg and will help pave the way for broader, comprehensive cannabis reform and will help create a safer and more equitable industry.” He also tweeted, “The SAFE Banking Act would immediately remove barriers for small and minority-owned cannabis businesses to access capital.  #SAFEBanking is the first of many federal reforms that are needed to ensure these businesses are treated fairly and legitimately.”

Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) tweeted, “If the Senate doesn’t include #SafeBanking in the NDAA, I will fight for it in conference. Each day Congress refuses to pass this bipartisan bill the fed govt endangers public safety, cripples the economic recovery of #smallbiz and refuses states’ rights to implement their laws.”

Montana Democratic congressional candidate Tom Winter tweeted, “When Montanans speak it’s up to their representatives in government to listen. Legal weed isn’t just about freedom from government intrusion into our personal lives. It’s about equity in our criminal justice system and good governance.”

The Senate bill to allow CBD as a dietary supplement got one new cosponsor for a total of three.

The House bill to allow CBD as a dietary supplement got one new cosponsor for a total of 34.

/ STATES

Missouri activists launched a signature drive for a marijuana legalization measure they hope to place on the 2022 ballot.

Florida activists said they are getting a good return on mailers they’ve sent to collect signatures on petitions to qualify a marijuana legalization measure for the 2022 ballot.

The Ohio Senate Small Business and Economic Opportunity Committee held a hearing on legislation to expand the medical cannabis program.

The Maryland House Cannabis Referendum and Legalization Workgroup discussed tax issues.

An Indiana representative will host a forum about legalizing marijuana on Monday.

The Michigan Court of Claims heard arguments in a case in which a testing laboratory is challenging regulators’ decision to recall marijuana products.

Arizona regulators  began accepting marijuana social equity business license applications.

Minnesota regulators added edibles in the form of gummies and chews to the medical cannabis program, but declined to approve new qualifying conditions.

A Massachusetts regulator authored a letter to the editor expressing frustration about the slow pace of cannabis equity efforts.

Connecticut regulators posted information about documentation required on marijuana social equity applicant ownership and control.

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office posted an update about marijuana tax revenue.

West Virginia regulators will hold a medical cannabis patient signup event on Tuesday.

The Tennessee Medical Cannabis Commission will meet on December 10.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

The Clarksville, Tennessee City Council will consider a resolution supporting marijuana decriminalization on Thursday.

Portland, Oregon officials are launching a grants program to aid marijuana businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexico’s Supreme Court struck down the prohibition on growing and harvesting hemp as unconstitutional.

Sri Lanka’s state minister of indigenous medicine promotion, rural and ayurvedic hospitals development and community health said a bill to legalize medical cannabis exports will be introduced soon.

A Costa Rica bill to legalize medical cannabis and hemp is advancing toward final votes.

Uruguayan officials will participate in a cannabis industry event on Thursday.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A record number of scientific papers about cannabis were published in 2021, according to a NORML analysis.

A review concluded that psilocybin “could be useful to prevent suicidal behaviors.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Americans for Prosperity tweeted, “Nearly 70% of Americans want cannabis to be fully decriminalized, and more than 90% want medical cannabis products to be available to patients and veterans. The States Reform Act will be a pivotal step towards making it happen.”

The Vermont Medical Society is urging regulators to ban marijuana products that contain more than 15 percent THC.

Origins Council says it is California’s largest membership-based cannabis advocacy organization now that Humboldt County Growers Alliance joined.

/ BUSINESS

SuperNet is issuing credit cards that work in participating marijuana dispensaries.

Labor organizers say Illinois cannabis businesses are resisting pushes to unionize employees.

Many Alaska cannabis businesses are struggling under the state’s tax structure.

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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 Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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