Senate Leader and Others Create False Feud With Speaker Pelosi On Cannabis Banking
In a July 31 press conference, Speaker Pelosi was asked whether House-backed cannabis-specific provisions in the latest COVID-19 economic relief bill were “directly related” to the stimulus package.
To be clear, the cannabis provisions in question are explicit to amending federal law so that state-licensed marijuana businesses can freely engage in relationships with banks and other financial institutions. These provisions are far from controversial and possess bipartisan support. In fact, members of the House voted 321 to 103 this past fall in favor of similar, standalone legislation (The SAFE Banking Act), with 229 Democrats and 91 Republicans casting ‘yes’ votes. A previous House-backed COVID relief package, The HEROES Act, had also included similar cannabis-specific banking language.
Currently, such relationships between state-licensed marijuana businesses and banks are discouraged under federal law. According to the latest data available from the US Department of Treasury, only a few hundred banks and credit unions nationwide provide services to the thousands of cannabis-related businesses operating in over 30 US states.
Speaker Pelosi responded to the question by stating, “I don’t agree with you that cannabis is not related to this” – alluding to the fact that the state-legal cannabis industry, which now employs an estimated 240,000 Americans, has been impacted by the pandemic and ensuing economic recession. She then acknowledged, “This is a therapy that has proven successful,” a statement that appears to