Cannabis Banking Is Out Of The Defense Spending Bill & Reps At Loggerheads About Which Comes First The Chicken Or The Egg?

Marijuana Moment reports

A new version of a congressional defense bill does not include marijuana banking reform following negotiations between the House and Senate. But the lead sponsor of the cannabis reform didn’t go down without a fight, filing an amendment in committee to attach the marijuana language to the legislation—though he ultimately didn’t insist on a vote.

While the House passed its initial version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in September with language to protect banks that work with state-legal cannabis businesses, those provisions were not attached to a new bicameral deal filed on Tuesday.

This latest iteration will now go through both chambers again before potentially being sent to the president’s desk.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), chief sponsor of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, didn’t force a vote on the amendment in the House Rules Committee—but its last-minute introduction sparked an impassioned debate within the panel, where multiple members expressed frustration over how Senate leadership has approached the issue.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-MA) sharply criticized Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who has insisted that broad justice-focused marijuana reform should be addressed before passing something like the SAFE Banking Act.

“I don’t really quite know what the hell his problem is,” McGovernor said, referring to Schumer. “But what he’s doing is he’s making it very difficult for a lot of small businesses—and minority-owned businesses, too—deal with the issue of cannabis to be able to move forward and to expand and to hire more people.”

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Watch the debate