A cadre of legalization activists have sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) calling on them to postpone a vote on the SAFE Banking Act until broad cannabis legalization – including criminal justice reform – gets a vote on the House floor.
The letter is authored by the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for American Progress, the Drug Policy Alliance, Human Rights Watch, JustLeadershipUSA, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
The authors note that while they “recognize the challenges facing marijuana businesses that lack access to financial services,” they “believe it is a mistake to move this issue forward while many of the other consequences of marijuana prohibition remain unresolved.”
“The banking bill does not address marijuana reform holistically. Instead, it narrowly addresses the issues of banking and improved access to financial services, measures that would benefit the marijuana industry, not communities who have felt the brunt of prohibition.” – Sept. 17 letter to Reps. Pelosi and Hoyer, via Politico
Earlier this week Hoyer said he was planning on bringing the SAFE Act up for a vote this month; according to Politico, the Majority Leader planned on bringing the bill up for a vote next week.
Before reaching the Senate, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) has indicated he would likely make amendments to the bill but none of the co-sponsors interviewed by Politico knew the specifics of what Crapo wanted to change.
The activists are urging the Democratic House leaders to consider bringing the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act up for a vote before considering the banking legislation. The MORE Act is sponsored by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) and counts other presidential candidates Sens. Corey Booker (D-New Jersey), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) among its co-sponsors. That bill remains in the Senate Finance Committee.
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