38 Attorneys General support banking changes
Wednesday morning, congressional leaders in D.C. received a letter signed by 38 Attorneys General representing states & territories with existing medical cannabis, adult-use, or CBD markets.
The letter urges Congress to support and advance the SAFE Banking Act, a bill that would create financial protections for cannabis businesses by opening up the same banking services provided to all other legal businesses.
“This is simple: not incorporating an $8.3 billion industry into our banking system is hurting our public safety and economy,” wrote California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in a tweet posted Wednesday evening.
For now, the act remains stalled in the House – but with lawmakers and representatives continuing to pressure Congressional leaders, an official House vote is becoming a real possibility.
Cannabis referendum announced in New Zealand
When casting their vote for the 2020 general election, New Zealanders will have the choice of voting yes or no to a govt. question that could legalize adult-use cannabis.
Chlöe Swarbrick, a Green Party MP based in Auckland, has helped spark the recent demand for legalization by promoting a campaign based on medicinal potential, criminal justice reform & community empowerment. For the next year and a half, Swarbrick has pledged herself to tour around the country, listening to suggestions made by constituents and influential stakeholders.
For now, few details have been carved out; but here’s what we know:
- Home-grow, on a limited basis, will be allowed
- A considerable amount of revenue will be used to fund public & youth education
- The minimum purchasing & consumption age will be set at 20 years old
- Marketing and advanced advertising methods will be prohibited
If Swarbrick and her fellow Green Party colleagues are successful, it will be the first time a country has legalized & regulated cannabis through a vote of the people.
Congressional members pushing for US-based cannabis research
This week 30 U.S. representatives filed a memo to the DEA, Department of Justice, and US Attorney General William Barr; pleading for rule changes that would allow domestic research relating to the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
With a status as a Schedule 1 Drug, current research can only be allowed under federal grants or specific-approval from the DEA & DOJ – but even those approvals can take up to years before research begins.
In their memo, representatives urge AG William Barr to act on the 26-impending research applications, along with the approval of the removal of cannabis as a Schedule 1 Drug.
“We hope (the) DOJ and DEA share our goal of bringing safe and effective medical treatments to those who are suffering as quickly as possible; we believe cannabis can be part of the solution, but we need more research,” concluded the 30 US reps.
Expansion bill advances in Texas
Monday morning, Texas House members approved a bill that would increase the number of dispensaries while also adding a handful qualifying conditions to the state’s existing Compassionate Care Act; including PTSD, cancer, severe pain and nausea, Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s Disease, and muscular dystrophy.
House Bill 1365, authored by state Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D-Brownsville), received little push back Monday morning, with House representatives approving the bill in a sweeping 121-23 vote. But the bill is expected to soon meet significant hurdles in the Republican-controlled Senate, despite the majority support in the House.
For now, no THC products are allowed under the existing program; but with more severe conditions, like cancer, potentially being added – lawmakers are beginning to shape policies that better-reflect voter demand; currently, just 14% of Texans believe cannabis use should remain illegal.