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SAFE banking left out of congressional defense bill

Senate Democrats are leading the charge to drop cannabis banking reform from the latest iteration of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), according to the News Station

“It’s become too much about Wall Street and other banks and not enough about sentencing reform and it’s got to be both,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said.

The background

House Democrats had worked to include SAFE Banking in the NDAA, which passed in September, reported Marijuana Moment. But its success at the Senate level was less certain, with many Senators such as Majority Leader Chuck Schumer expressing the need for justice reform to occur before banking reform. Sure enough, negotiations between the House and Senate produced a new bill without SAFE banking. Now, the new cannabis-free NDAA will again go through the House and Senate before heading to Biden’s office.

Prohibitionists take the credit

Dr. Kevin Sabet, who leads the anti-cannabis organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana, took credit for the alteration to the bill.

“We are grateful to have helped defeat this banking provision yet again,” reads the statement. “This is a historic win for parents and communities. And it’s a huge blow for the bankers, lobbyists and investors trying to gain a foothold into the US economy by selling today’s high potency THC products.”

Not dead yet

Rep. Ed Perlmutter expressed his disappointment on Twitter, vowing to try to have the NDAA amended once again.

“The Senate insists on burying its head in the sand and deny every opportunity to reform our outdated cannabis laws to align state and federal law to improve public safety,” he wrote. “As a result, I plan to file an amendment to the NDAA at the Rules Committee which would add #SAFEBanking back to the bill.”

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