U.S Senate Approves Marijuana Banking Reform Linked To Defense Spending Bill

The U.S House of Representatives on Tuesday okayed an amendment, which would protect banks that cater to state-legal marijuana businesses against being penalized by federal regulators. The amendment, which is now a part of large-scale defense spending legislation, was passed with a voice vote.

With the passage of the Bill, this is the fifth time in recent times that the U.S House of Representatives has cleared the cannabis banking reform. This amendment has always received wide support from the legislators both as a standalone bill or whether it was included as a part of some other wider legislation.

Many marijuana advocates have welcomed the changed proposal, but they are of the opinion that major changes need to be done to marijuana laws in the first place, before bringing about financial changes.

Certain lawmakers, especially on the Senate side, who are planning for a legalized Bill, are in favor of solving the banking issue by bringing an end to marijuana prohibition. The lawmakers are of the opinion that the reform, which are beneficial for the businesses and investors, should be cleared only after addressing the issues of racially disparate prohibition enforcement. These problems should be solved with emphasis on equity-focused legalization, they added.

The amendment was put forward by Rep. Ed Perlmutter for floor consideration. Commenting on the amendment, he said, "This will strengthen the security of our financial system in our country by keeping bad actors like foreign cartels out of the cannabis industry. But most importantly, this amendment will reduce the risk of violent crime in our communities. This is a public safety and a national security matter—very germane to the issues at hand, dealing with foreign cartels and particularly the cash that is developed by this business that leads to crime."

The newly-passed amendment is one of the many drug policies that U.S lawmakers plan to attach to the National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA.

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