The SAFE Banking Act is not a pork-barrel spending bill. Is that why it’s struggling?
Vice President Mike Pence took to Lou Dobbs Tonight on Fox News earlier this week to gripe that Democrats were attempting to include legislation related to marijuana and banking in the latest coronavirus relief bill.
“I heard the other day the bill mentions marijuana more than it mentions jobs,” Pence said to Dobbs. “The American people don’t want some pork-barrel bill coming out of the Congress when we’ve got real needs for working-class families.”
Maybe he’s trying to remind everybody that Joe Biden isn’t the only vice president who’s still resisting marijuana legalization?
There are two ironies here. First, the bill Pence is complaining about makes it possible for cannabis businesses to safely engage in banking in states where cannabis is legal, which helps those “working-class families” who rely on the cannabis industry. Second, the bill he’s referring to will actually save taxpayers money, unlike much of the rest of this relief legislation
The “Secure and Fair Enforcement Act of 2019,” a.k.a. the “SAFE Banking Act,” would allow legally operating cannabis businesses to have the same legal access to banks, loans, and deposit protections as other legal businesses. Because the sale and possession of marijuana are still forbidden by federal law, banks are reluctant to have any dealings with dispensaries and growers, even when they’re legally operating within their home states.
Published: August 13, 2020
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