The chairman of the Senate Banking Committee said Wednesday that he is uncomfortable advancing a bill (SAFE Banking Act) that protects financial sector access for cannabis companies without stricter health and illicit financing safeguards.
Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) said in a Wednesday statement that he stands in opposition to a House-passed bipartisan bill to give banks and other financial institutions legal cover who wish to do business with cannabis firms, The Senator did say he was open to amending the measure to satisfy his concerns.
Crapo said he had “significant concerns” that the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act neglects to address the potency of cannabis, the marketing of the drug to children, the lack of research on its health effects, and the ability of cartels and other criminal groups to profit.
History would serve as a guide to address the Senator’s 1st concern. Prohibition has historically led to intoxicating substances to become more potent.
Cannabis companies themselves, by and large, frown on marketing marijuana to children. Some states, like California, have even adopted measures to prevent such marketing. That should take care of his 2nd concern.
The lack of research is mostly due to right-wing politicians blocking such research. They have done so even to stop veterans from accessing it for medicinal reasons. Perhaps Senator Crapo might look to reform his own party in that respect to satisfy his 3rd concern.
Marijuana legalization is bad for cartels — and that has been shown to be the case.
Senator Crapo’s grandstanding on the SAFE Banking Act boils down to nothing more than political posturing and, as demonstrated above, flies in the face of facts. Instead of this grandstanding, perhaps his efforts would be better served if he worked to end marijuana prohibition nationwide, so potency can decrease. Maybe he should look at adopting the laws California uses to prevent marketing to children nationwide, and advocate for such things to happen. Also, on that note, perhaps he should advocate for more research as well.
Lastly, Senator Crapo needs to realize that when cannabis is in a legal and regulated market, the cartels and other criminals lose — and the American taxpayers and citizens win.
Crapo’s opposition to the bill is a shocking and unexpected hurdle to the coalition of financial sector lobbyists, criminal justice advocates and public safety groups supporting the SAFE Banking Act.
Maybe Senator Crapo should begin studying up for Trump’s eventual impeachment trial in the Senate so he can be a fair juror.
The House passed the bill in October by a vote of 321-103 with votes from almost all Democrats and a substantial group of 91 Republicans. The measure would relieve banks and credit unions from facing federal charges for doing any business with cannabis dispensaries, growers and other firms that handle the drug so long as they are in compliance with other state laws.
The bill’s supporters argue that the legislation does in no way impact the federal legal status of cannabis, but instead ensures that state sales of the drug are monitored through federal banking laws. They also argue that forcing cannabis companies to use only cash raises public safety risks and reduces transparency in multiple ways.
The bill’s supporters remained hopeful that they could find a way to get the bill through the Senate.
Ryan Donovan, chief advocacy officer for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), a trade group for credit unions that endorsed the bill, had this to say on Crapo’s opposition and blocking of the bill:
“America’s credit unions are eager to continue engaging with the Chairman as he seeks a solution that enhances community safety through access to mainstream financial services.”
Featured image via the Alexandria Police Department and The New York Times