Washington has recently seen a surge in armed robberies at marijuana retailers, including three fatal incidents in one week this month. State-licensed dispensaries are ripe targets for robbers as financial institutions remain wary of the federally banned marijuana industry, forcing many merchants to rely heavily on cash.The House of Representatives has voted to pass legislation aimed at addressing the issue six times, but it went nowhere in the Senate.The most recent effort is hindered Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has claimed support for marijuana reform but believes his own broader legislation should be prioritized.
This position is politically and practically untenable, given the repeal of the federal marijuana ban, of course, long overdue, is unlikely to be approved by the Senate anytime soon. In contrast, Safe and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking ActProtecting financial institutions that serve state-licensed cannabis businesses from federal prosecution, forfeiture and regulatory penalties has become law without Schumer’s objections.However, his obstruction was support Presented by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), which is similarly concerned that approving cannabis banking reforms will ease pressure for more fundamental change. This is a case of making perfect the enemy of the good.
Last March, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) reintroduced the Safe Banking Act, attracting 180 co-sponsors In the House of Representatives, including 26 Republicans.it passed the House of Representatives in April by vote 321 to 101, supported by 106 Republicans. In September, the House of Representatives approved Perlmutter’s Amendment Add the Secure Banking Act to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that must be passed in fiscal year 2022.
Schumer ensures Perlmutter’s bill is not included in final version of President Joe Biden’s NDAA signed into law in late December. DPA cheers for Schumer, Say The Safe Banking Act must be “excluded from this omnibus bill” as enacting it amounts to “priority”[ing] Cannabis profits trump people. The bizarre implication is that cannabis merchants facing ongoing danger exacerbated by failure to approve banking reforms are ineligible to be ‘humans’.
On March 19, 29-year-old employee Jordan Brown was arrested shot During an armed robbery at World of Weed, a pharmacy in Tacoma. Brown is alone.that employee too held hostage On March 17, an armed robbery took place at a Euphorium cannabis store in the Seattle suburb of Covington. In that case, a security guard shot and killed the robbers.A sort of third robberyOn March 16, at the Factoria Hot Pot restaurant in Bellevue, a shootout ensued, in which police killed a suspect.
Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) Report So far this year, there have been more than 50 marijuana business robberies in the state. “The situation has gotten so serious,” said Ian Eisenberg, co-owner of five Uncle Ike cannabis stores in the Puget Sound area, Tell KING, the Seattle affiliate of NBC. “We’re now forced to protect our employees and customers, have armed security. Stores that don’t want to spend money on armed security now, they’re still being robbed… Now people are being shot, dying, and it’s getting worse. We’re Take it more seriously. It’s the thing that keeps me up at night, and that’s why we invest a lot of money in our employees.”
The spate of robberies has prompted Washington officials to renew calls for banking reform. “The issue has come into the spotlight in recent weeks because of its dire nature [the] The robbery that happened,” Washington State Treasurer Mike Pericciotti Say Yesterday at a forum hosted by the LCB. “But it’s just a reminder that every robbery that happens is traumatic for those involved.”
The root of the problem, Pellicciotti said, is that “cannabis businesses and retailers in our state and across the country are unbanked and have to rely on cash.” He added that “a decade of congressional hesitation is enough” and that “we are in a position where Congress needs To the point of passing the Safe Banking Act.”
Perlmutter expressed similar frustration after Schumer blocked the Safe Banking Act in December. “People are still being killed and businesses are still being looted due to lack of action in the Senate,” Perlmutter Say in a press release. “The Safe Banking Act has been in the Senate for three years, and their unwillingness to deal with it endangers and harms businesses, their employees and communities across the country every day.”
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, agree Leaving banking problems unresolved is “very dangerous”. “I really don’t know what it is [Schumer’s] The issue is,” Say Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Rules Committee. “But what he’s doing is he’s making it very difficult for a lot of small businesses … to move forward and expand and hire more people.”
Last week, Curaleaf CEO Joe Bayern Tell hill “The Senate is definitely trying to get something done this year.” Among Democrats and Republicans, he said, “we’ve seen [the SAFE Banking Act] as passable legislation. “
But not if Schumer and other Senate leaders continue to cling to the whole pie instead of accepting the piece of the pie they can have right now. “We want to overhaul,” Jared Maloof, CEO of Ohio-based medical marijuana business Standard Wellness, told Reuters hill“But we also recognize that the House and Senate have the potential to change hands, and we now have an opportunity to pass influential legislation that could take years if we don’t.”
period interview About DPA founder Ethan Nadelmann psychoactive On last year’s podcast, Schumer worried that “if we let this bill pass, it’s going to make it more difficult and take longer to pass comprehensive reforms.” Naderman expressed doubts about the wisdom of Schumer’s strategy, which gets with the support of an organization that Naderman has run for more than two decades. “Delay strategies to do incremental work, like safe banking, until we get broader legalization,” he said. Tell reasonLast fall, Nick Gillespie said, “When we know broader legalization isn’t going to happen in a few years…it probably won’t work on Capitol Hill.”
the house is expected Vote for DPA Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Elimination (MORE) Act by this Friday. as a DPA notes, the bill “would completely solve the banking problem”. It would also remove marijuana from the federal prohibited drug list; eliminate federal criminal penalties for manufacture, distribution, and possession; require the automatic removal of federal marijuana convictions; impose federal taxes on marijuana; Services to Individuals Adversely Affected by the War,” loans to cannabis businesses owned by “socially and economically disadvantaged individuals,” and grants designed to reduce “barriers to marijuana licensing and personal employment” were impacted by the War on Drugs. “
An earlier version of the MORE Act pass through House in December 2020 with support All but a handful of Republicans voted. It was never dealt with by the then Republican-controlled Senate. With Democrats still in control of the House, it seems inevitable that the House will approve MORE again. But with the Senate split evenly between the two parties and Democrats relying on Vice President Kamala Harris’ run-off vote for a majority, the prospects for the More Act dimmed.
is also like this Legalization Act Schumer plans to launch it next month. Even if Democrats were unanimous in favor of the bill, they would need the support of 10 Republicans to overcome the filibuster. And Schumer et al. By spending time and energy on legislation with a near-zero chance of passing, they will ignore a bill that has a better prospect and can now do something good.This Senate version The SAFE Banking Act, introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) last March 42 co-sponsorsInclude nine republicans.
The DPA’s stance on the Safe Banking Act is radically different from its long history of supporting incremental reforms, including the legalization of low-level drug possession, the legalization of medical marijuana, less severe drug sentences, and a wide range of other harm reduction policy. Ohio cannabis entrepreneur Maloof believes the approach still makes sense.
“When you look at marijuana over the past 20 years,” he told hill“It started in California, then went to Colorado, and now it’s legal in medicine in 37 states and recreationally in 18 states. It’s all incremental progress. Incremental progress is what got us here. Cause, I think it’ll get us over the finish line.”