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Hearing the Senate is a step towards giving marijuana access

A Senate Key Committee met on Tuesday to discuss legal amendments that would allow banks to serve state-owned marijuana businesses without risking being sanctioned by federal financial regulators and the group chairman concluded that there has been a case "pretty hard here" that the issue needs to be resolved, but it's "a very important and complex issue we need to get it right."

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Planning Commission , chaired by Senator Mike Crow (R-ID), announced the hearing last week, which surprised some of the senator's previous statements that he would not be committed to exploring the issue of cannabis financial services while the federal government still considered marijuana as a controlled substance.

The two-party bill ̵

1; the Security and Fair Implementation Act (SAFE) – was the main focus of the conversation. Parliament's version of the legislation cleared the Financial Services Committee of this Chamber in March, and although advocates hoped it would come out before the full chamber before the August holiday, expectations have moved to the fall of the lesser actions. Crapo asked after the hearing, if he had consulted Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Senate Majority Leader on the bill, the President replied that he "has spoken to almost all our colleagues about it."

In response to questions from other reporters about the next steps, he said the committee "is trying to see if we can find a way to deal with the different issues" against the potential growth of bank cannabis legislation and that no "intends to hold additional hearings" on the issue. "

Sen. Sherbrooke Brown (D-OH), who was ranked in the group, said in his opening speech at the hearing that "the legitimate cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing in the United States and hundreds of thousands of people work in it" 19659002] "No matter how you feel about marijuana itself, we have an obligation to look for the workers who work in this industry and the communities they represent," he said.

Witnesses who testified before the Senate Committee included sponsors of the SAFE Banking Act Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Representative of the National Association of Credit Organizations (CUNA) Rachel Prose, Representative of the American Bankers' Association (ABA) Joan Sherwood, Deputy Prime Minister

Watch the rumors about marijuana in the Senate:

Defendants argue that the provision of banking services to Businesses at Dash will increase financial transparency and reduce safety risks, as such companies are now largely forced to work on cash which makes them the object of crime.

Gardner said in his testimony that "the states are leading the matter and the federal government has failed to answer. She closed her eyes and closed her ears and pretended the question would disappear. It will not be. "Maintaining these dollars by banks means we are losing the ability to trace where dollars go," he added. "It is also more difficult to guarantee the payment of all taxes. This makes it easier for offenders in the illicit market to present themselves as legitimate. And that leaves hundreds of millions of dollars of money in the state. "

He admitted at the hearing that this was" a difficult hearing, a difficult topic. I know that. "But we were sent here to deal with the difficult issues," he said. "This is an important step forward. The first hearing we had on this issue, as the federal government is waking up to the reality that the problem of cannabis will not disappear and we need to act. "

Following the hearing, Gardner told reporters he was convinced he had enough support in the Senate to accept not only the SAFE Banking Act, but also another bipartisan bill he sponsored to allow states set their own cannabis policies without the risk of federal intervention. [I] t will pass with majority support and I think the majority of Republicans will also vote for it, "he said.

In particular, the senator told Marijuana Moment that he talked with McConnell "constantly" about cannabis problems, at least on Monday. ] "If they want to shut up, then they can just transfer this and the law to the STATES and so I will shut up," he said, referring to the bank accounts for the rights of banks and wider states.

was missing at the meeting, with only a few out of Croppo and Gardner, raising questions about the extent to which Senate Republicans are interested in the development of cannabis banking legislation.

Merkel said in his testimony that "the lack of financial services for cannabis-related enterprises in countries where it was legalized has created a scenario where businesses are forced to operate cash, leading to a dangerous environment for all participating countries.

"Financial institutions support legal clarity and security, and the legislative hearing will provide an opportunity to address unresolved issues and ensure a better understanding of the proposed bipartisan legislation," he said, adding that he hoped the hearing would " an opportunity for members to hear directly from witnesses who have direct experience of challenges to the financial sector, the cannabis industry and law enforcement. "

At the hearing, Merkel said," nothing good that would make the world operate with cash. "

" This is a call for money laundering. This is an invitation for organized crime. This is an invitation for robbery. This is an invitation for your tax fraud or fraud to your employees, "he said. – Let's fix this. Let us respect the vision of the rights of the states of all countries who have said that this makes sense here in our location for our citizens. "

Although the SAFE Banking Act does not heal all banking challenges related to cannabis, it would be helpful to the 33 states legalizing cannabis in some form to make their communities safer, to collect their taxes and effectively regulate cannabis markets, "said Sherwood, who is President and CEO of Citywide Bank, in written testimony on behalf of ABA. "It would also help banks and their customers in countries without legitimate cannabis regimes to cope with the unintended consequences for unrelated companies supplying products and services to the cannabis industry, their employees or service providers without undermining the ability of any prohibit the sale and use of cannabis. within their borders. "

Pross, chief risk officer at Credit Credit Union, said its association" has no stance on federal legalization of cannabis, "but" many credit unions operate in cannabis-producing countries or communities, "or growth for and that CUNA is convinced that "financial institutions must be allowed to lawfully serve businesses engaged in activities that are permitted under their national laws, even when that activity may be incompatible with federal law elstvo.

"On behalf of the American Credit Unions and their 115 million members, we invite both Congress and the Administration to work to translate this legislation into law and provide the financial institutions with the security needed to better serve our communities . "

SAM's Van Meter said members of the commission were tasked with addressing" Whether we want to encourage and increase drug use in times of crisis with addiction or to stop drug use and help people find recovery and healing "by debating whether to provide access to banking for cannabis business. rules, the marijuana industry hopes to win much of the benefits of federal legalization without a debate about the implications for public health, "he said in testimony.

Attached to SAM's presentation is a letter expressing concern about the potential consequences of the surrender of the SAFE Banking Act, signed by former chiefs of the anti-drugs administration and the National Anti-Drug Service.

Sen. Brian Shatz (D-HI) talks about marijuana research barriers, noting that he sponsors bipartisan legislation introduced last week, which will address the matter with Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Van Meter came in to say that "if the marijuana industry is concerned about research, then I do not think they will sell some of these products with extremely high power." Shaz said. "I'll let you answer the questions, but I will not let you take the pot for the people you testify to. – Lord, who is the chair of the advocacy group. The Cannabis Trade Federation said that "due to the significant compliance costs associated with serving cannabis customers under existing policies, financial institutions charge significant monthly fees for cannabis businesses."

"Our company pays over $ 3,000 month for the privilege of having an account, "he told LivWell Enlightened Health. "The current situation is particularly challenging for small businesses. While we, due to our size, are able to bear the extra costs associated with cash management and excessive bank charges, many small businesses are not. "

In addition, solving the banking problem can significantly help cannabis business by providing business loans. This is crucial for owners of small businesses who can not access other sources of capital. It should be noted that these small enterprises are also pressed by Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code, which prevents all cannabis companies from deducting standard business costs when calculating their taxes. If there is any hope of helping small businesses – including minorities – and women-owned women – to survive and thrive, we need to fix the banking situation and modify Section 280E so that cannabis business is taxed like any other business. " Bob Menendez (D-NJ) discussed the challenges that cannabis businesses face in lending and highlighted a separate piece of legislation that he introduced on Monday, which would give these companies access to insurance. ,

Without him they can not protect their property, employees or customers. [19659902] – Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) 23 July 2019

Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) argues that the federal reform of marijuana should not stop at bank access.

"I think we should realize that because we are considering criminal sanctions for participation in marijuana businesses, we can not forget the thousands of people who have spent time behind bars because of their participation in marijuana," she said. "Colorful communities, especially African-American men, have paid a disproportionate cost to the generations of the aggressive application of marijuana laws."

Brown, the ranked Democrat, made a similar point, saying the hearing of the financial services was "just one part of the conversation that Congress should have about marijuana policy. "People should not be imprisoned, nor should their future be threatened by a criminal record of nonviolent marijuana crimes," he said.

The meeting included lack of access to financial services for hemp plants as culture was federally legalized under the 2018 Agriculture Act, barriers to marijuana research, and how access to the banking industry can help regulators better identify illegal financial activity.

Banking associations representing all 50 countries have expressed support for the SAFE law. Other advocates of a legislative resolution on the banking issue include a coalition of 20 bipartisan governors, the National Association of Treasurers, leading financial regulators in 25 countries, and the majority of state prosecutors.

On the side of the Chamber, the legislation has 206 cosponsors. The bill has 31 senators in the Senate.

The Bank Hearing marks Congress's sixth hearing on marijuana policy at this congress, including a historic meeting of Parliament's Parliamentary Sub-committee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security on the road to end the federal ban on cannabis. Another committee will discuss hemp production in Wednesday

Senate plans second cannabis hearing next week

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