Tuesday was April 20th, the unofficial holiday of cannabis culture. According to the Delaware Online, “The number 420 has become a secret code among potential roommates and people on dating websites, a way to covertly let someone know that they welcome marijuana into their home or love life.
Unfortunately, legalizing marijuana has long been on the agenda for House democrats. And, on the week of 4/20, it’s no surprise the House majority attempted to slide in a marijuana bill through suspension vote. Under suspension, a bill passes via unanimous consent or voice vote. It’s typically reserved for bills that are not controversial, but that’s not always the case.
The SAFE Banking Act, or H.R. 1996, is anything but non-controversial. If enacted, the legislation would allow marijuana businesses access to the federal banking system by preventing federal banking regulators from punishing financial institutions that finance marijuana businesses that are legal under state or local laws. The bill undermines federal law and allows for legal money laundering in which banks receive illegally obtained funds.
The Coronavirus pandemic has hurt a lot of Americans. And, sadly, many turned to marijuana and other drugs to cope. During the Floor debate on H.R. 1996, Representative Bob Good (R-VA) stated, “It is sad that the House is voting on this bill during a time when our country is seeing increases in addiction, depression, and suicide. Rather than helping victims of despair, we are enhancing the financial benefits for those peddling and profiting off the sale of marijuana.” (Listen to Rep. Good’s remarks here).
Today, marijuana is more potent than it was 20-plus years ago and comes in many forms that all contain differing levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical giving the drug user euphoria and intoxication, and cannabidiol (CBD). Marijuana use not only leads to physical dependency, addiction, agitation, paranoia, but it also harms developing brains. It’s ironic that the Biden Administration is considering changes to regulations for cigarettes, “including lowering the amount of the addictive substance nicotine that is allowed to be present,” but the Democrats are poised to essentially decriminalize marijuana. Like nicotine, marijuana is also highly addictive.
Sadly, the SAFE Banking Act passed the House via suspension. Eagle Forum sent a letter to the Hill that asked Republicans to demand a roll call vote and thankfully one was asked. Our members must be accountable to their votes! Ultimately, the legislation passed 321-101.