New York Marijuana Regulatory Council officially wrapped up with final governor’s appointments
Tuesday marked the fifth time that the United States House of Representatives passed legislation to protect banks that work with legal marijuana companies. And the main sponsor of this reform, Representative Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), told Marijuana Moment that he thinks that “the fifth time is the charm” to finally pass the measure to the Senate and on the president’s office.
The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) banking law has already been passed as stand-alone bills and as provisions incorporated into larger bills. The House on Tuesday attached it to large-scale defense spending legislation in a voice vote, raising hopes that the must-see National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) could be a way forward cannabis banking reform into law.
In a phone interview on Wednesday, Perlmutter spoke to Marijuana Moment about the next steps in the legislation, the hurdles to overcome, and even joked about how to spell “superfluous,” a term that some members said this week could spell out. apply to a marijuana. banking modification in the context of defense spending legislation.
During the years that the congressman sponsored this reform, he fended off criticism that it would primarily benefit industry stakeholders, arguing that it is an imperative public safety issue that would help legal marijuana businesses gain access to financial institutions and cease operating on a largely cash-only basis, making them targets for crime. And while some might question the usefulness of tying it to the NDAA, he and even a GOP lawmaker argued in the House on Tuesday that it would bolster national security by hampering international drug cartels operating in the market. illicit.
The following interview has been edited slightly for length and clarity:
Marijuana Moment: Will the move to tie SAFE Banking to NDAA ultimately get this through the Senate and onto the President’s desk? You have now passed the reform measure in the House five times. This is the fifth time the charm?
Ed Perlmutter: I think the fifth time is the charm. I mean, obviously we still have to do a little bit of work to make sure it’s still part of the NDAA while the House and Senate go to conference. So we still have work to do with the Senate to ensure that it is still a part of it. But I think it will. I mean, the fact that it deals with cartels and national security, besides the public safety necessity of this thing, I think we will be able to convince the conference committee and speakers in general to keep it. But we still have work to do.
MM: Were you surprised at all that no member requested a recorded vote yesterday after the measure was approved by voice vote?
PE: Yes. Yes.
#SAFEBank will strengthen the security of our financial system and prevent bad actors like cartels from entering.
Most importantly, it will reduce the risk of violent crime in our communities.
It has been adopted by the House 5 times. We cannot wait any longer to deal with this threat to public safety. https://t.co/inwnn6ouR1
– Representative Ed Perlmutter (@RepPerlmutter) September 22, 2021
MM: Some key senators have said that they are not very keen on moving banking reform forward before full and fairness-oriented legalization. Have you been in touch with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and colleagues about their final thoughts on moving SAFE Banking Now through NDAA as their larger effort to end the ban is still pending?
PE: I do not have. I have a scheduled call with [Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA)], who is sort of my counterpart in the Senate on the banking committee, and he and I are going to talk about that. We have been in contact with the sponsors of Bill there, [Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and [Steve Daines (R-MT)], to let them know what’s going on — and of course with my senators from Colorado. It was only last night that we were able to add SAFE Banking as an amendment, so no, I have not yet had a chance to speak to Senator Schumer or Senator Booker about it. I don’t think a full [legalization] the bill has not yet been prepared. I don’t know where they are with tracking votes. But I am convinced that SAFE Banking enjoys substantial support in the Senate, which gives another chance to be heard.
MM: House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) told the Rules Committee earlier this week that there was a need to have buy-in from bipartisan leaders of jurisdictional committees in both houses to get something that seems “superfluous” to NDAA in conference. Some leaders of these committees, both Democrats and Republicans, were less enthusiastic about the legislation. What is the plan to convince them to include this in the conference report?
PE: Well i first i would say [House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-NC)] in fact, in some ways, has been helpful. I know he opposes the bill in general, but as a prominent MP he has not thrown in our way in terms of raising the issue for the vote we have. had in the spring. He did not prevent us from adding it as an amendment. So I think that, as a matter of principle for his own vote, he was not in favor of the bill. But he also wasn’t really adamant about opposing it, if that makes sense.
As it concerns [Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH)], he and I have had conversations about it — and of course, I know Senator Schumer and Booker are interested in a much larger package, and I appreciate that. As long as they can get that through when it decriminalizes, downgrades, has elements of criminal justice reform, has components and tax provisions, that’s great. I don’t know if they have the votes for it. So Senator Brown and I have had some good conversations, and we will have more of them now as the National Defense Authorization Act comes before the conference committee.
Marijuana Moment is already following more than 1,200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $ 25 / month have access to our interactive maps, charts and audience calendar so they don’t miss any developments.
Learn more about our Marijuana Bill Tracker and become a Patreon supporter to access it.
MM: Some activists have expressed frustration that the House of this Congress has now twice passed what they see as industry-driven banking reform when there has been no movement towards a broader legalization at the 117th Congress. Do you expect to see something like the Opportunities, Reinvestment and Marijuana Erasure Act (MORE) move again soon this Congress?
PE: I expect him to move, yes. And I don’t know which activists you are talking about because we are working with a lot of activists on this bill. In fact, this bill was generated by activists, not by the business community. We had to get the business community to participate in this. And I think everybody understands by now, you know, when you get these huge piles of money, there’s a danger. There is danger in the form of theft, assault and murder, as we have seen.
And so when you say that the activists are kind of opposed to it, I can tell you that I have been working on this subject for eight years now and it is the activists who started this. It is the owners of dispensaries who are being robbed. I want to dispel this. This is not an industry bill. This is something that we developed over the years when we couldn’t get the White House, whether under Obama or Trump, to deprogram him.
MM: President Joe Biden obviously remains opposed to legalizing adult use. But do you think he would support a more modest reform like the cannabis bank? And you hope that it will eventually come to broader legalization soon?
PE: So the first question regarding SAFE Banking, I know that [Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen] is someone I have talked to about this bill for years, and she knows the issues around it, the accumulation of cash and the need to be able to provide legitimate banking services – credit cards. credit to payroll accounts, to checking accounts – and it is favorable.
The president, I think, because it’s really closely suited to take money off the streets, to provide a higher level of public safety, I think he’s going to be of great support. We are in 47 states, all territories and the District of Columbia, currently have some level of marijuana use. This is something that can no longer be ignored. It doesn’t matter if you are in the Senate, the House or the White House.
Now your question about whether the president will support a larger bill? I do not know. And we haven’t had this conversation. The SAFE Banking Act exists, and its broad outline took place under the Obama-Biden administration, when we received the Cole memo and the [Financial Crimes Enforcement Network] advice, so as not to get too deep in the weeds. But basically Cole’s note, as you may recall, was revoked by [Attorney General Jeff Sessions], corn [former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin] and now Secretary Yellen has upheld the FinCEN guidelines. It incorporates that orientation. So we know, starting with the Obama-Biden administration, this is something the administration was comfortable with. Now we have to make it legislative and put it in law.
MM: It might be “superfluous” for a conversation about marijuana banks, but broader drug policy reforms seem to be gaining momentum, including in your home state of Colorado.
PE: Do you want me to spell “superfluous”? [laughs]
MM: Voters in Denver approved a voting measure to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms in 2019, and now some are talking about putting a measure on the statewide ballot next year to decriminalize psychedelics. or potentially remove the criminal penalties for possession of all drugs. What do you think of the steps taken to end the war on drugs more generally?
PE: In fact, I haven’t given it much thought. I mean, I focused more on preventing people from getting killed in clinics, and so that clinics could pay their workers in a normal way and not in cash. So I haven’t thought about the larger question you’re asking. So maybe in a month or two, we can talk about it. I want to do this thing first.
New York Marijuana Regulatory Council officially wrapped up with final governor’s appointments