New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker says Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is opposed to marijuana policy reform and is preventing his Republican colleagues from approving a cannabis bill. Booker said McConnell’s opposition was preventing a marijuana bill from being passed in the Senate by the end of the year, after which control of the House would shift to Republicans.
Proponents of cannabis policy reform hoped they could pass meaningful reform during the current lame-duck session of Congress before control of Congress shifted to Republicans. McConnell’s opposition to reforms such as restorative justice for those harmed by the sweeping marijuana ban and a bill that would allow the legal cannabis industry to access banking services weighed on the positions of other Republican senators. said to be influential.
“They are addicted to marijuana” booker said NJ Advance Media. “It’s an obstacle for me.”
Republicans will take control of the U.S. House of Representatives in next year’s new session of Congress after winning a narrow majority in last month’s midterm elections. Cannabis policy reform is unlikely to become a legislative priority for Republican leaders. will not make any progress on this issue.
Florida Republican Rep. Brian Mast, co-chair of the congressional cannabis caucus, said reforming cannabis policy is in line with traditional Republican values, but McConnell has taken a leadership role on the issue. I couldn’t do it.
“It’s not what he was interested in moving in the past, nor what he appears to be interested in moving now,” Mast said. Just as we have argued for state rights over Roe v. Wade in May, this is just as big an issue.”
Expectations for amendments to the SAFE Banking Act
Reform of cannabis policy currently focuses primarily on the Safe and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. This facilitates access to traditional financial services for regulated marijuana businesses. The bill’s provisions have passed the House of Representatives seven times since 2019, but the bill has failed to gain approval from the Senate. Most recently, wording of the SAFE Banking Act was included in the House version of the defense spending bill, but the cannabis clause was left out of the version released last week.
For Republicans, the bipartisan negotiations on cannabis policy reform are aimed at drafting a bill containing the restorative justice clause that Booker defends while gaining the support of enough Republican senators to be approved in the Senate. It is led by Senator Steve Danes. To advance most legislation requires votes from his 100 members of Congress, which are roughly evenly divided.
“Senators are doing everything they can to finally pass this bipartisan bill this year for public safety,” said Rachel Danes, a spokeswoman for Danes’ office. Danke said.
But Booker says opposition to marijuana policy reform from hemp legalization leader McConnell is deterring his fellow Republicans from supporting the SAFE Banking Act or a blanket legalization bill. thinking about.
“The caucus is clearly divided, but those in power in the caucus are clearly against marijuana,” Booker said.
Cannabis advocate Justin Strekal, founder of the Marijuana Policy Reform Political Action Committee bowl packsaid it expects the SAFE Banking Act provisions to be attached to the upcoming mandatory blanket appropriations bill currently being negotiated in Congress. If it’s part of a larger bill that provides funding, Republican senators can vote on the bill without being openly forced to “turn against Mitch McConnell in his presence.”