Enjoy good journalism?
… then let us make a small request. The COVID crisis has slashed advertising rates, and we need your help. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.
Raw Story is independent. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.
We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.
Value Raw Story?
… then let us make a small request. The COVID crisis has slashed advertising rates, and we need your help. Like you, we believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We need your support to do what we do.
Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.
Hailed by advocates as an important milestone on the road to full marijuana legalization, the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill that would open the door to banking services for the legal cannabis industry.
"As we continue to push forward with full legalization, addressing this irrational, unfair, and unsafe denial of banking services to state-legal cannabis businesses is a top priority."
—Rep. Earl Blumenauer
All House Democrats and more than half of Republicans in the lower chamber voted to approve the SAFE Banking Act, which passed by a vote of 321-101. If approved by the Democrat-controlled Senate and signed into law by President Joe Biden, the measure would allow banks and other financial institutions to serve state-legal cannabis businesses without running afoul of federal prohibition law.
The House passed a similar bill in 2019. However, the measure never made it past the Senate, which at the time was controlled by Republicans.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.)—who has introduced versions of the bill since 2013—said on the House floor ahead of the vote that "the fact is, you can't put the genie back in the bottle—prohibition is over."
"I hope this bill is an icebreaker for the House to take up other reforms and finally remove the conflict between state and federal laws," he said.
After the successful vote, longtime cannabis legalization advocate Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) tweeted that "this is a step toward ending the failed war on drugs and bringing restorative justice to our Black and Brown communities."
Other lawmakers and elected officials, especially in states where recreational or medical marijuana use is legal, applauded the bill's passage.
"As we continue to push forward with full legalization, addressing this irrational, unfair, and unsafe denial of banking services to state-legal cannabis businesses is a top priority," Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) said in a statement after the vote. "This is a critical element of reform that can't wait, and I urge our cannabis champions in the Senate to take up this legislation as soon as possible."
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) asserted that "Colorado's multi-billion-dollar marijuana industry employs thousands of people. They should have the same security and access to banking as any other business."
Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington—which in 2012 became one of the first two states to legalize recreational cannabis—said the SAFE Banking Act will provide legal marijuana businesses "a safer, more transparent financial market."
Cannabis legalization advocates also hailed Monday's vote. NORML—the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws—said that if signed into law, the bill "would improve the safety of legal marijuana marketplaces and foster more entrepreneurship in the emerging legal industry."
NORML political director Justin Strekal said that "for the first time since Joe Biden assumed the presidency, a supermajority of the House has voted affirmatively to recognize that the legalization and regulation of marijuana is a superior public policy to prohibition and criminalization."
"However, the SAFE Banking Act is only a first step at making sure that these state-legal markets operate safely and efficiently," he added. "The sad reality is that those who own or patronize the unbanked businesses are themselves criminals in the eyes of the federal government, which can only be addressed by removing marijuana from the list of controlled substances."
Steve Hawkins, executive director of Marijuana Policy Project, called Monday's vote "hugely important."
"This will unlock banking services that certainly will be a benefit to small operators in the space as well as social equity businesses," Hawkins told Marijuana Business Daily.
"The SAFE Banking Act is only a first step at making sure that these state-legal markets operate safely and efficiently."
—Justin Strekal, NORML
The SAFE Banking Act has a much better chance of passage now that Democrats control a Senate whose members increasingly favor an end to federal marijuana prohibition. Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)—whose home state legalized recreational cannabis use last month—is currently working on federal marijuana reform legislation with Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
Biden, however, remains opposed to full federal legalization. Cannabis activists hope that sustained grassroots pressure and the continuing parade of states ending prohibition could spur the president to reconsider his position. According to Business Insider, recreational marijuana is now legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia, with medicinal use allowed in 36 states.
Democrats blocked the Republican minority's attempt to censure Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) for her comments over the weekend urging civil rights activists to stay in the streets and continue the fight for justice. Many of the far-right twisted her words to be about targeting the jury in the Derek Chauvin trial, but the reality is that it was about the verdict and the strive for justice.
According to Politico, there were about three or four centrist Democrats who said that they considered supporting the censure but decided against it.
Rep. Susan Wild told me she almost voted with the Rs, but decided against it: "I had to weigh it long and hard be… https://t.co/srV8S9o3iq— Sarah Ferris (@Sarah Ferris)1618950958.0
While the GOP is attacking Waters, they have refused to censure far-right racist members like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). Others are complaining that the GOP should also censure Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who is part of an investigation into sex trafficking, prostitution, drug use, fraud, and other allegations. In his case, there haven't been any charges handed down from the Justice Department as of yet.
President Joe Biden will address the nation after the verdict was read in the Derek Chauvin case.
Biden, who got to know George Floyd's family during the 2020 campaign, said that when he met Floyd's daughter, she told him, "my daddy changed the world." It's clear that Floyd's death has certainly changed the perspective of many who witnessed the harshness of Chauvin's actions, his pleas for help from Floyd and the many who begged Chauvin to stop.
Biden repeated Floyd's family's request for peace and calm ahead of the verdict, asking that people celebrate or mourn without violence in the community.
After the comments about Chauvin, Biden will deliver remarks about his jobs plan.
You can watch Biden's remarks in the video below:
President Biden Delivers Remarks on the American Jobs Plan www.youtube.com
Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Raw Story Investigates and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.
$95 / year — Just $7.91/month
I want to Support More
$14.99 per month