Breaking news in D.C.
This week, for the first time ever, a standalone cannabis reform bill was approved in the US House.
Wednesday evening, the House of Representatives voted 321-103 in approval of the SAFE Banking Act; a bipartisan supported bill that will better protect financial institutions working with cannabis companies – allowing all cannabis entities to use the same financial resources all other legal businesses enjoy.
“Today was historic. The first standalone cannabis bill to give cannabis businesses access to banking services passed out of the House with an overwhelming bipartisan vote. This is our blueprint for legalization in action. Our movement is cresting & we won’t stop here. Onward!” tweeted co-sponsor Earl Blumenauer.”
An uphill battle is expected in the Senate, with popular democrat leaders like Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) steadily vocalizing their concerns; suggesting a core-group of leaders could withhold their votes if a progressive social justice reform bill is not first approved.
Still, with support coming from both sides of the aisle, the SAFE Banking Act is expected to receive significant support in the Senate – whether it passes or not is another story.
Australia’s Capital approves adult-use cannabis
Tuesday afternoon, the capital city of Australia – Canberra, became the first jurisdiction in the nation to approve a law that would create a regulated adult-use cannabis market, intended to take effect by Jan. 31, 2020.
The new laws would allow adults over the age of 18 to possess, use, and cultivate small amounts (up to 4 plants) of cannabis within the capital’s territory.
Cannabis arrests account for the greatest number of illicit drug arrests in Australia, with more than 80% of them being consumer-related. While the new law won’t protect Australians living outside the capitol, local officials have already begun to adapt to the reform; assuring the ACT government that “they will be focusing on the black-market selling of cannabis, rather than its personal consumption.”
Massachusetts regulators issue social consumption regulations
The Cannabis Control Commission (the govt. entity in charge of overseeing adult-use cannabis in Mass.) issued regulations for social consumption spaces Tuesday, following months of debate. Also included in the new regulations is licensing structures for adult-use delivery businesses.
Under the new regulations, local counties will be able to craft their own specific rules relating to the new laws – allowing local officials to cater to their constituents demands.
In many of the new regulations, social equity plays a key-part in the application process – regarding home delivery businesses, for the first two years, only economic empowerment priority applicants will be accepted.
Bipartisan legalization bill emerges in Wisconsin
A new cannabis reform bill that would legalize medical marijuana has emerged in Wisconsin.
The bill, co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Patrick Testin, Democratic Sen. Jon Erpenbach and Rep. Chris Taylor, would allow doctors and physicians to qualify residents on behalf of the Dept. of Health; currently, qualifying conditions would include HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, and other mental health and physically-debilitating conditions.
Local journalists cite an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Senate, which has recently expressed concern surrounding the growing wave of legalization in the US. But Wisconsinites from both parties appear to be in favor of legalization – says A Marquette University Law School poll that showed that 59% of voters supported adult-use legalization, with around 83% of the voters supporting medical cannabis legalization.
To learn more about legalization in Wisconsin, listen to our recent podcast featuring Rep. Melissa Sargent – a leading cannabis reform lawmaker based in Madison: