Recent incidents in Washington have seen an increase in the number of armed robberies at marijuana retail stores. Three cases with fatal outcomes were reported in just one week. The state-licensed marijuana dispensaries make a good target for criminals, as financial institutions continue to be suspicious about the federally illegal cannabis industry. This makes it difficult for many merchants who rely heavily upon cash. Six times the House of Representatives voted in favor of legislation to address this problem, but it is still not approved by the Senate. Recent efforts were stymied by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.While he supports marijuana reform, Chuck Schumer (D.N.Y.), is adamant that his legislation must be broader.
Because repealing the federal ban on marijuana is likely to not be passed by the Senate soon, this position is both politically and practically unsustainable. The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE), which protects financial institutions serving state-licensed cannabis businesses against federal prosecution and forfeiture and other regulatory penalties, is in contrast to Schumer’s resistance. The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) supported his obstruction, which also worries about the possibility that marijuana banking reform approval will ease pressure to make fundamental changes. This case is another example of when the perfect can become the enemy of good.
The SAFE Banking Act, which was reintroduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D–Colo.) last March, attracted 180 cosponsors in the House, including 26 Republicans. It passed the House in April by a vote of 321 to 101, with support from 106 Republicans. In September, the House approved Perlmutter’s amendment adding the SAFE Banking Act to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2022.
Schumer tried to ensure that Perlmutter’s bill did not make it in the final NDAA version, which was signed by President Joe Biden in December. Schumer cheered, and the DPA said that it was vital to keep Perlmutter’s bill out of the final version of the NDAA because it would constitute “prioritizierung.”[ing]Pot profiteers over human beings. It was bizarre to imply that marijuana merchants who are constantly in danger due to the failure of banking reform were not “people”.
Jordan Brown was a 29 year-old worker who was gunned down during an armed raid at World of Weed in Tacoma. Brown was a human being. Also, the employee held hostage by Brown in an armed robbery on March 17 at Euphorium Marijuana Shop (Covington), a Seattle suburb. The robber was shot by a security guard. The second robbery at Bellevue’s Factoria pot store on March 16 was followed by an encounter in which one of the suspects was killed.
Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board reports more than 50 robberies in Washington this year. “The situation has gotten very severe,” Ian Eisenberg said, who is co-owner and operator of five Uncle Ike’s pot shops in Puget Sound. We are now forced to provide armed security to our customers and employees. The shops right now that don’t want to spend the money on armed security, they’re still getting robbed….Now that people have been shot and killed, it’s gotten even worse. It’s something we take very seriously. This is what keeps me up at night worried about, so we invested lots of money in staff training.”
Washington officials renewed their call for reform in banking after a spate of bank robberies. Due to the horrendous nature of these robberies, this topic has come to the forefront. [the]”Robberies that have taken place,” Mike Pellicciotti, Washington State Treasurer, said at a forum hosted by the LCB yesterday. But it is just to remind everyone involved that every robbery occurs in a traumatizing situation.
Pellicciotti explained that the real problem lies in the fact that cannabis retailers and businesses across the nation, as well as those located in California, are not able to access banks and must depend on cash. The congressman said, “A decade of congressional dithering has been enough” and that Congress should pass the SAFE Banking Act.
Perlmutter shared similar disappointment after Schumer in December blocked the SAFE Banking Act. “People are still getting killed and businesses are still getting robbed because of a lack of action from the Senate,” Perlmutter said in a press release. “The SAFE Banking Act is sitting in the Senate since 2003. Every day that passes, their inability or unwillingness to act on this issue harms and endangers companies, employees and communities all across the country.
Rep. Adam Smith (D–Wash.Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Adam Smith (D-Wash.) agreed it was “incredibly dangerous” not to resolve the banking problem. I don’t know the meaning of this. [Schumer’s] problem is,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D–Mass.The chairman of House Rules Committee. “But what he’s doing is he’s making it very difficult for a lot of small businesses…to move forward and to expand and to hire more people.”
Last week, Curaleaf CEO Joe Bayern told The HillHe said, “There is definitely momentum around trying to get something done in the Senate this year.” He said that both Republicans and Democrats are beginning to reach a consensus. [the SAFE Banking Act]”A piece of legislation that can be passed”
However, this is not the case if Schumer and the other Senate leaders continue insisting on the full pie rather than accepting the piece they could have. Jared Maloof (CEO of Standard Wellness), a Ohio medical marijuana company, stated that “We want complete reform.” The HillWe recognize, however, that the House and Senate could change hands. Therefore, now is the time to pass effective legislation. If we don’t, it may be many years before we see any progress.
Ethan Nadelmann, founder of DPA was interviewed during an interview PsychoactiveSchumer expressed concern that “if the bill is not passed, it would make it harder and take longer for comprehensive reform to be achieved.” Nadelmann is skeptical about Schumer’s strategy. It was supported by Nadelmann’s organization for more than 20 years. He described a strategy that he believes is based on putting off doing incremental things, such as safe banking, in order to wait for broader legalization. There are reasons‘s Nick Gillespie last fall, “when we know broader legalization is not gonna happen for years…may well not work on Capitol Hill.”
This Friday is the expected date for the House to vote on DPA-backed Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act. According to the DPA, the bill will “solve the entire banking problem.” It would also eliminate marijuana from the federally-prohibited drugs list; remove federal criminal penalties in marijuana manufacturing, distribution and possession; allow for automatic expungement federal marijuana convictions; impose and federal tax on cannabis; use the revenue to drug treatment, services for people adversely affected, loans for persons economically and socially disadvantaged, as well as grants to reduce “barriers” to marijuana licensing and employment of individuals adversely affected.
A previous version of the MORE Act was passed by the House in December 2020. This bill had the support of all except six Democrats, but only a small number of Republicans. The Senate did not take up the bill, as it was then under Republican control. The MORE Act will be approved by the House again, as Democrats control it. The MORE Act’s chances of passing the Senate are dim because it is equally split between Democrats and Republicans.
Schumer’s legalization bill, which he plans to present next month, is the same. Even though Democrats all voted for the bill, it would still need to be supported by 10 Republicans to pass a filibuster. And while Schumer et al. Schumer and his colleagues will spend their time and effort on legislation with a low chance of passage, but they will neglect a bill that is much more likely to pass. The Senate version of the SAFE Banking Act, which Sen. Jeff Merkley (D–Ore.) Introduced last March by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., the Senate version of SAFE Banking Act has 42 cosponsors including nine Republicans.
DPA’s position regarding the SAFE Banking Act represents a drastic departure from its history of supporting incremental reforms such as decriminalization for low-level drug possession and legalization or medical marijuana. It also supports less severe drug sentences. Maloof, an Ohio cannabis entrepreneur thinks this approach is still sensible.
He said, “If you take a look at cannabis in the past 20 years,” The HillAccording to the author, it began in California and then moved on to Colorado. Now, recreational marijuana is legal in 36 states and in 18 more. This is incremental progress. We got here by incremental progress, and that’s how I would like it to continue.