A bipartisan pair of attorneys general from Ohio and Colorado recently penned a letter to the leaders of the U.S. Senate urging the chamber to quickly pass a bill protecting financial institutions that accept marijuana businesses as clients in states that have regulated marijuana markets.
This letter from Ohio AG Dave Yost and Colorado AG Philip Weiser is the latest in a series of communications imploring legislators to expeditiously pass the SAFE Banking Act, which seems to be caught in a vicious cycle of being passed by the House of Representatives and then stalling in the Senate.
The two attorneys general, who also double as cochairs of an influential committee of the association bringing together all attorneys general across the country, revealed in their recent letter that all states with marijuana markets share a strong interest with the federal government to protect public safety in addition to bringing financial activities in legal grey areas into the formal banking system. They therefore implore the Senate to enact cannabis banking legislation so that the common interests of the federal government and states can be attained.
The bill at the center of this pressure is the SAFE Banking Act authored by Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat from Colorado. The bill seeks to shield any bank working with state-legal marijuana firms from federal sanctions given that marijuana is still illegal at the federal level.
This letter comes at the time when officials in Washington State are faced with an upsurge of robberies and other criminal activities targeting marijuana businesses in the state. These officials are demanding federal action on cannabis banking, and they also plan to explore their own options of protecting banks while the federal administration remains silent on this matter.
It is baffling how Democrats who control the House of Representatives, the Senate and White House, can fail to approve this banking reform measure. One possible explanation is the opposition of Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader, to any cannabis policy reforms that don’t address reforms to the criminal justice system, address social equity matters, and decriminalize or legalize marijuana. He thinks that passing the banking reform bill is giving big businesses what they want without addressing the concerns of the general population.
Schumer is working on tabling a long-awaited cannabis legalization bill that was initially scheduled to be filed by the end of this month, but the Senate Majority Leader announced that he would delay the filling of this bill while more consultations take place to garner consensus and increase the odds of a successful outcome.
The federal legalization of marijuana would allow established companies such as Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC) to expand quickly across the country and serve a lot more people with their skin-care, pharmaceuticals and wellness products, in addition to serving the international market.
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