Congress leaves out cannabis banking reform from spending package

The measure is intended to increase access to financial services for marijuana businesses in states like Michigan where pot is legal

Dec 20, 2022 at 9:57 am
click to enlarge Cannabis remains illegal on the federal level. - Shutterstock/mikeledray
Cannabis remains illegal on the federal level.

A massive spending package before Congress does not include marijuana banking reform, delivering yet another blow to cannabis business owners.

Advocates of legal marijuana were hoping lawmakers would add cannabis banking reform to the omnibus appropriations legislation, but that didn’t happen, Marijuana Moment reports.

After the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act failed to make it in the spending bill for a second time, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., tried to add cannabis banking reform in the legislation.

Republican leaders have stymied efforts to include the bill in legislation.

With only a few weeks left in the lame duck session, the chances of Congress approving marijuana banking reform have diminished.

The measure is intended to increase access to financial services for cannabis businesses in states, like Michigan, where marijuana is legal.

Since marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, cannabis businesses don’t have access to traditional banking services like checking accounts and loans, and they can’t deduct normal business expenses such as rent and payroll.

Without access to loans, prospective business owners must have capital upfront, making it impossible for anyone without a lot of money already to start a cannabis operation.

In October, President Joe Biden took a major step toward federal cannabis reform by pardoning all prior offenses for possession and calling on state governors to do the same. Biden also directed the secretary of Health and Human Services and the attorney general to “expeditiously” review the classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 narcotic with no accepted medical use. Currently, it’s considered on par with drugs like heroin and LSD in the eyes of the federal government.

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