During federal budget negotiations the Republican-controlled Senate removed several riders from the omnibus package meant to protect the legal cannabis industry, according to a Newsweek report. Although lawmakers kept in a rider that prevents federal funds from being used to enforce federal cannabis laws on medical cannabis programs, they pulled another rider that would have extended those protections to recreational markets.
The chamber also added a measure to prevent Washington, D.C. from rolling out adult-use sales – which the District legalized in 2014. D.C. relies on Congress for funding and previous budget negotiations have included similar provisions.
The Senate also rejected a measure that would have given legal cannabusinesses banking protections – similar to the protections allowed in the House-approved SAFE Banking Act. That measure has yet to be introduced in the Senate – or even sent to a committee – by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Last week Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo said he would not support the SAFE Act because, he says, it doesn’t address potency issues, marketing to children, research on the effects of cannabis, and potential money laundering issues.
Prior to the passage of the bill in the Senate, negotiators from both chambers removed provisions that would have prevented veterans working in the cannabis industry from discrimination by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs when applying for home loans, and another measure that would have allowed individuals with a single low-level cannabis offense from re-enlisting in the military.
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