Congressional Democrats are planning to take up cannabis-related issues in the spring, including proposals to allow the industry access to banking, expunging criminal records, and potentially decriminalization, The Hill reports.
“The growing bipartisan momentum for cannabis reform shows that Congress is primed for progress in 2022, and we are closer than ever to bringing our cannabis policies and laws in line with the American people.” — Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), in a memo to the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, via The Hill
Notably, the House of Representatives has voted five times since 2019 to approve the SAFE Banking Act, which would give cannabis companies access to traditional financial services, but the legislation has never been taken up by the Senate.
The MORE Act, which would remove cannabis from the federal schedule of controlled substances and expunge federal convictions, was also approved by the lower chamber but not considered by the Senate, which is now controlled 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tiebreaking vote.
The memo outlined by The Hill expresses support for an “equitable” cannabis industry.
“In addition to investing in the communities most impacted by the war on drugs,” the memo states, “it’s crucial that states incentivize equal opportunity to participate in the cannabis industry, especially for people of color.”
In a November interview, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that the lawmakers behind his federal cannabis reform bill “don’t want the big boys to come in” to the industry once the reforms are approved.
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