Congressional proposals seek better banking services for US cannabis industry

Democrats in Congress have proposed an ambitious set of cannabis reform proposals for this spring which could see a comprehensive overall of an industry estimated to be worth some $18 billion.

The federal proposals seek to establish banking services for the burgeoning cannabis market.

They also seek to purge the criminal records of thousands of marijuana offenders.

In a memo to the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, Representatives Earl Blumenauer  and Barbara Lee suggest that 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”.

The reform proposals include the following:

  • The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act would seek to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act and purge records for those convicted of using marijuana.
  • The SAFE Banking Act would allow the cannabis industry access to an array of financial services such as commercial loans, checking accounts and credit-card processing.
  • The Medical Marijuana Research Act would remove restrictions to federal researchers studying marijuana to ensure that researchers have access to quality product.

Other bills would allow the development of a legal cannabis market in Washington, D.C.; enshrine the legality of state cannabis programs and the possibility that they should cover even federal workers; and provide for cannabis research trials for PTSD, while prohibiting retribution by  Veterans Affairs against physicians who recommend the substance.

“Taken together, the bills show in broad strokes what a marijuana liberalization policy could look like: a modern, diverse, regulated industry of small producers — not dominated by giants like alcohol and tobacco,” the proposals state.

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