Another financial association is imploring Senate leadership to pass a bipartisan bill to safeguard banks that work with state-legal marijuana businesses.
The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), which represents about 50,000 community banks throughout the country, sent a letter to key senators on Thursday, urging the adopting of cannabis banking reform language in a large-scale manufacturing bill that’s headed to a bicameral conference committee.
The House did include the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act in its version of the AMERICA Competes Act, but it was stripped in the Senate. Advocates and stakeholders have been putting pressure on the Senate to accede to the House and reinsert the language in the final package that’s sent to the president’s desk.
The SAFE Banking Act “would create a safe harbor from federal sanctions for financial institutions that serve cannabis-related businesses (CRBs), as well as the numerous ancillary businesses that serve them, in states and other jurisdictions where cannabis is legal,” ICBA said in the new letter.
ICBA called on Senate leaders to include ICBA-advocated legislation to establish a cannabis banking safe harbor in the America COMPETES Act conference report. https://t.co/Yexw0tzVpG
— Independent Community Bankers of America (@ICBA) May 6, 2022
“We are pleased to reiterate ICBA’s strong support for this legislation, which is essential for the ongoing ability of community banks to effectively serve their communities,” the association said. “ICBA urges the support of all members of the House and Senate for inclusion of the SAFE Banking Act in the conference report to the America COMPETES Act.”
Banking associations representing all 50 states and one U.S. territory also sent a letter to Senate leaders late last month, imploring them to include marijuana banking reform in the manufacturing bill that’s set to be negotiated.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) is the chief sponsor of the SAFE Banking Act, which has passed the House in some form six times at this point. He’s been strongly pushing for the measure’s passage as an urgent public safety issue that would give state-legal businesses access to traditional financial services that are afforded to other legal industries.
Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.
Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.
But so far, the Senate has been reluctant to advance the measure under Democratic and Republican control. Senate leadership has insisted on passing comprehensive legalization legislation first before the cannabis banking bill.
A top aide for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is working to finalize his own legalization bill, recently tempered expectations about the prospects of moving marijuana banking through the America COMPETES Act.
That reluctance on the Senate side was also the subject of a letter from Perlmutter that was sent to leadership last month.
The congressman has even made a point to talk about enacting the reform legislation during committee hearings on ostensibly unrelated or wider-ranging legislation, like at a recent House Rules Committee hearing.
Despite recently saying that he’s “confident” that the Senate will take up his bill this session, Perlmutter recognized that while he’s supportive of revisions related to criminal justice reform, taxation, research and other issues, he knows that “as we expand this thing, then we start losing votes, particularly Republican votes and we got enough votes in the Senate to do it” as is.
Meanwhile, the governor, attorney general and other top officials in Washington State sent a letter to congressional leaders last week, again emphasizing the urgent need to pass marijuana banking reform as a public safety imperative.
With respect to the AMERICA Competes Act, the third-highest-ranking Democratic member in the Senate, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), has taken special interest in the issue, describing marijuana banking reform as a priority as an appointed member on the bicameral conference committee.
Separately, Washington State officials also recently held a virtual roundtable to address the spate of deadly robberies targeting marijuana retailers, with regulators reiterating their call for a federal policy change and discussing steps the state can take on its own while Congress fails to act.
Washington State’s treasurer has been especially vocal about the need for congressional reform, and he wrote in a recent letter to his colleagues in other states that it’s “just not safe to have this financial volume in cash.”
He made similar remarks at a recent conference of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST). And Colorado Treasurer Dave Young echoed that sentiment in a recent interview with Marijuana Moment.
In the absence of congressional action, more states are moving to enact marijuana banking reform policies on their own. For example, Pennsylvania House lawmakers filed a companion bill to a Senate-passed measure late last month that would provide banking protections and tax relief for marijuana businesses.
Meanwhile, the number of banks that report working with marijuana businesses ticked up again near the end of 2021, according to recently released federal data.
It’s not clear if the increase is related to congressional moves to pass a bipartisan cannabis banking reform bill, but the figures from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) signal that financial institutions continue to feel more comfortable servicing businesses in state-legal markets.
Some Republicans are scratching their heads about how Democrats have so far failed to pass the modest banking reform with majorities in both chambers and control of the White House, too. For example, Rep. Rand Paul (R-KY) criticized his Democratic colleagues over the issue in December.
Read ICBA’s letter to Senate leadership on passing marijuana banking reform below:
FDA Sounds Alarm About Cereal and Candy that Appeal to Children
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) once again cautioned people to keep their edibles out of reach from children, especially the ones with sketchy, colorful packaging that might appeal to children.
On May 13, the FDA issued a warning, sounding the alarm about lookalike products that mimic candy and more recently—children’s cereal.
Copycat products that were highlighted in the warning mimic Cap’n Crunch, Cocoa Pebbles, Cocoa Puffs, Froot Loops, Fruity Pebbles, Nerds Ropes, Starbursts, Sour Patch Kids, and Trix, among others.
There are two reasons not to support gray area cannabis products like these: the potential appeal to children being one, and the other being the ethical violation of blatantly ripping off the intellectual property of mainstream food companies. But the FDA was mainly concerned about the physical symptoms that could occur in children.
“The FDA is aware of multiple media reports describing children and adults who accidentally consumed copycat edible products containing THC and experienced adverse events,” the organization wrote. “Additionally, from January 2021 through April 24, 2022, the FDA received over 100 adverse event reports related to children and adults who consumed edible products containing THC.”
Symptoms to look out for include “hallucinations” and “vomiting.”
“Some individuals who ate these edible products reportedly experienced adverse events such as hallucinations, increased heart rate and vomiting, and many required medical intervention or hospital admission,” the warning continues. “Seven of the reports specifically mention the edible product to be a copycat of popular foods, such as Cocoa Pebbles, Nerds Rope, Skittles, Sour Patch Kids, and Starburst.”
Separating Dangers from Myth
Both CBD and THC show promise in pediatrics for mental and physical conditions in controlled doses, such as intractable epilepsy, but children’s small bodies usually can’t withstand THC like an adult. If a small child (or pet) consumes them by accident, it can quickly become “a situation.” All adults carry the responsibility of keeping their edibles out of reach, and most do.
But sometimes, hysteria makes these warnings seem less credible. For children and adults, a “whiteout” can be a scary experience, but “overdoses solely by marijuana are unlikely,” even the CDC admits. At the crack of October 1, we receive our annual warning about supposed cannabis-infused candy being passed out to children on Halloween, but sometimes said stories are debunked.
The FDA gave three recommendations in the event that a child consumes an edible:
- Call 9-1-1 or get emergency medical help right away if you or someone in your care has serious side effects from these products. Always keep these products in a safe place out of reach of children.
- Call the local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) if a child has consumed these products. Do not wait for symptoms to call.
- Contact your healthcare provider if you or someone in your care recently ingested these products and you have health concerns.
The FDA also gave three ways to file a complaint in a dark warning to people with nosy neighbors, living in fear of people dropping the dime and calling Child Protective Services. It’s unclear if the complaint avenues are intended for parents themselves or others.
“Health care professionals, patients and consumers are encouraged to report complaints and cases of exposure and adverse events to the FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program,” the warning reads.
- Call an FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator if you wish to speak directly to a person about your problem.
- Complete an electronic Voluntary MedWatch form online.
- Complete a paper Voluntary MedWatch form that can be mailed to the FDA.
Last year, over 100 people dialed in.
Copycat Edibles Are a Problem, Not Only for Children
As it turns out, mainstream food companies essentially want the same thing, but mostly for a different reason. On April 27, a group of a dozen major food companies called on Congress to crack down on the growing number of THC-infused copycat knockoffs.
“Children are increasingly threatened by the unscrupulous use of famous brand logos, characters, trademarks, and trade dress on THC-laced edible products. While cannabis (and incidental amounts of THC) may be legal in some states, the use of these famous marks, clearly without approval of the brand owners, on food products has created serious health and safety risks for consumers, particularly children, who cannot tell the difference between these brands’ true products and copycat THC products that leverage the brand’s fame for profit,” the companies wrote in the letter.
Parents with small children and teens are advised to double check that their edibles are out of reach from children.
First Psychedelic Drug Trial Firm Opens in London
In what is absolutely a sign that the new interest in psychedelic drugs has landed on the other side of The Pond, a new commercial facility has opened for trials in London.
Clerkenwell Health, a British start-up, will begin trials of psilocybin to help terminal patients manage the anxiety caused by this kind of diagnosis starting in August. The intent is to support trial participants through the end of palliative care. The facility will be located near Harley Street—a famed address globally for attracting doctors and firms offering state-of-the-art medical treatments and therapies. The firm will be working in cooperation with North American firms in both Canada and the United States which focus on treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders.
The move is not unexpected and indeed is likely to be just the next step in a widely anticipated trend. Biotech firms of all kinds, including for psychedelics starting with cannabis, have been eyeing the U.K., post-Brexit, as a haven for this kind of experimental research. This is because Britain is no longer bound by the rules and regulations of the European Medicines Agency and other regulatory bodies necessary to approve such research on a regional basis.
Beyond this, of course, other psychedelic drugs—and psilocybin in particular—are beginning to have a new renaissance in the research community globally. It is undeniable that this is due, in part, to cannabis reform. In many ways it is the ending of Prohibition globally, more than Brexit, which has opened these doors.
Regardless, there is great interest now in exploring all kinds of psychedelic drugs to treat mental health conditions ranging from mood disorders and PTSD to addiction.
The policies of the War on Drugs made research of all of them highly challenging. Getting both approvals and funding was next to impossible everywhere. Indeed, the only reason that Israel developed into a hub of cannabis research is that the U.S. was willing to fund research overseas that was specifically banned at home.
The Great Irony About British Psychedelic Research
As much as this development is certainly a step forward for this kind of treatment, there are multiple ironies present. The first is that the most widely used psychedelic drug involved in such reform discussions—namely cannabis—remains an illegal substance in the U.K. Further, despite efforts on the part of advocates, which at this point include the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, recreational legalization has caused a backlash in his own party.
As a result, widespread medical reform is in a strange place here. Despite the U.K. being the largest exporter of medical cannabis in the world, legal access to cannabinoid-based medicine is still out of reach for the average British patient.
It may well be that the first recreational reform in Britain will happen first, if not even more ironically, just off its coast.
Where Drug Reform Is Headed in the U.K.
Given the political climate, it is clear that drug reform politically in the U.K. is not following science but rather profit. GW Pharmaceuticals led the commercial development of cannabis-based drugs outside of Israel for almost 20 years. During this time, the company’s drugs treated more global patients than domestic ones. Indeed, that is one of the reasons why the entire medical cannabis discussion became so heated over the last several years. When GW’s drugs did not work even on children, parents had to import alternatives from abroad.
Tragically, the current divisions in the Labour Party over drug reform will probably split the party, causing the need for a partisan discussion about drug reform, but also slowing it down even further.
That matters little to biotech firms now eyeing a regulatory environment outside of global norms and regulations and a whole new class of drugs to develop and roll out.
There clearly needs to be a general fast forward on these kinds of drugs and the U.K. is poised to be a center of that. But if the British insist on being the Island of Dr. Moreau for the benefit of a few firms, and to the detriment of the vast majority of its citizens, there is nothing to stop them.
Rhode Island Lawmakers to Vote on Cannabis Legalization
Lawmakers in Rhode Island are expected to vote on cannabis policy reform this week, with legislative committees in the state Senate and House of Representatives scheduled to consider identical bills to legalize recreational pot for adults.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Senate Bill 2430 sponsored by Democratic Senator Joshua Miller on Wednesday afternoon, according to a report in local media. And later the same day, the House Finance Committee will vote on House Bill 7593 from fellow Democrat Representative Scott A. Slater. If passed, the companion bills would legalize the possession and purchase of up to one ounce of cannabis by adults 21 and older and create a regulatory framework for the commercial production and sale of recreational cannabis.
“This historic shift in public policy will create a vibrant new marketplace in our state and end the failed practice of prohibition, which has caused such harm to so many in our communities,” Miller said when the legislation was unveiled earlier this year. “To help address those past wrongs, and to ensure all Rhode Islanders have the opportunity to share the economic benefits associated with legalizations, equity is a central focus of this legislation.”
“The time for Rhode Island to move forward with cannabis legalization is now,” Miller, a longtime supporter of cannabis legalization, said in a statement when the legislation was unveiled earlier this year. “This historic shift in public policy will create a vibrant new marketplace in our state and end the failed practice of prohibition, which has caused such harm to so many in our communities.”
In addition to permitting public possession of up to one ounce of cannabis, the bills allow adults to possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis in a private location. The legislation also permits adults to grow up to three immature and three mature cannabis plants at home.
The legislation authorizes up to 33 cannabis retailers, including nine hybrid dispensaries that would carry both medical and recreational cannabis. Cannabis would be taxed a total of 20%, including a 10% cannabis excise tax, 7% sales tax, and a tax of 3% that would go to local governments hosting licensed cannabis businesses. Local jurisdictions could opt out of allowing retail cannabis businesses by placing a ballot question on the ballot for this year’s general election, but communities that vote not to allow dispensaries will not be eligible for revenue generated by cannabis taxes.
The bills would create a three-member cannabis control commission to oversee Rhode Island’s regulated cannabis industry. Once the new agency is formed, it would also take on oversight of the state’s medical canabis industry. The legislation also establishes a cannabis regulatory office and a cannabis advisory board within the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation.
Governor’s Office Objects to Bill’s Details
Although legalizing cannabis for adult use is supported by Democratic Governor Daniel McKee, his administration has expressed “significant constitutional concerns” about how the three members of the cannabis control commission would be appointed and, if necessary, removed from the panel. The most recent version of the legislation, which has the support of leadership in both the House and Senate, would give lawmakers a say in the commission’s appointments. But Claire Richards, the governor’s executive counsel, wrote in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that such appointments are usually made by the governor.
“Such pervasive control by the legislature impermissibly enlarges its constitutional role at the expense of the executive,” Richards wrote in the letter quoted by the Providence Journal.
Under the Rhode Island Constitution, Richards noted, only the governor has the authority to appoint “all members of any commission” that exercise executive functions such as approving rules for cannabis retailers, issuing licenses to dispensaries and inspecting retail businesses.
But the most recent version of the legislation allows the governor to appoint members to the commission only from a list of candidates recommended by the Senate President and the House of Representatives. Additionally, the bills allow the governor to remove someone from the commission only with the approval of the Senate.
After Richards made the administration’s concerns known, spokesmen for the House and Senate disputed the contention that the legislation is unconstitutional.
“This bill, and specifically the appointment process, is consistent with Rhode Island’s separation-of-powers principles and the law flowing from the Rhode Island Supreme Court,” the spokesmen wrote in a joint statement.
They added that the appointment process “is similar to the process used in the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission and the Judicial Nominating Commission.”
Social Equity Built into Legislation
Miller noted when the bill was introduced in March that “equity is a central focus of this legislation.” The measure includes provisions to use licensing fees and penalties to fund grants and technical assistance to applicants from underserved communities and those harmed by the War on Drugs. The legislation also reserves one license in each of six retail districts for social equity applicants, and another in each district for a co-op form of retail dispensary.
“It is the right public policy for Rhode Island to make cannabis possession and sales legal. We have been studying legalization proposals here for many years, and we now can look to our neighboring states’ experiences and see that taxing and regulating cannabis makes sense,” Slater said in March.
“I’m especially proud that we have made a very deliberate effort to address social equity through this bill,” he added. “We have to recognize the harm that prohibition has done to communities, particularly minorities and poor, urban neighborhoods and ensure that those communities get the support they need to benefit from legalization.”
Empire State Building To Hold Lighting Ceremony In Honor Of Notorious B.I.G.’s 50th Birthday
Angel Olsen Perseveres ‘Through the Fires’ in New Song
Post Malone and Roddy Ricch Party at the Edge of the Abyss in ‘Cooped Up’ Video
Proposed law in Maryland would allow mothers to kill their babies up to 28 days after birth
California introduces new bill that would allow mothers to kill their babies up to 7 days after birth
100+ nations have global agreement now being deployed called ‘Project Sandman’ to drop and end dominance of U.S. dollar and petrodollar
Miami Gardens woman arrested after she told neighbors she killed her husband and buried him in her backyard
HHS Secretary admits Biden administration knew about baby formula shortage last year, did nothing about it
AEW Dynamite: Owen Hart Tournaments begin, FTW title match, MJF/Wardlow contract signing for Double Or Nothing
Politics20 hours ago
We have the emails: Search through the new database of Hunter Biden’s ‘laptop from hell’ emails
News21 hours ago
REVEALED: Buffalo shooter is left-wing activist seeking ‘justice for Ukraine’
News22 hours ago
Miami Gardens woman arrested after she told neighbors she killed her husband and buried him in her backyard
Politics15 hours ago
‘F You Guys!’: Tom Brady Reveals How He Deals with Media Critics
Politics23 hours ago
Dirty bomb drills being run in Austin, Tex., ahead of known radiological terror cells entering U.S.
Politics19 hours ago
BREAKING: Democrats Introduce Bill To Put Americans In Quarantine Camps
Politics19 hours ago
“Cobalt Magnet” is the codename for dirty bomb drills in Austin, TX – new intel on radicalized terrorists who will combine cobalt-60 with explosive suicide vests
High Life24 hours ago
Arizona Adult-Use Weed Sales Top a Record $72 Million