GOP Senator Who Trashed Marijuana Banking Amendment Years Ago Is Now Cosponsoring Reform Bill

MJ moment

In the latest sign of shifting attitudes on marijuana policy in Congress, a Senate bill to protect banks that service state-legal marijuana businesses gained a notable new cosponsor on Wednesday. Susan Collins, the Republican senator from Maine who is well known as a centrist, signed onto the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. The move is particularly notable given that just a few years ago she spoke out forcefully against a similar proposal because she didn’t want banks to “essentially finance dealers of recreational marijuana.” To that end, the latest cosponsorship may be a bellwether for the legislation, signaling that like its House companion, it stands to earn bipartisan support if advanced to the Senate floor. Back in 2015, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced an amendment to a funding bill that would bar federal regulators from using their resources to penalize banks just because they provide financial services to cannabis businesses operating in compliance with state law. Collins spoke out at the Appropriations Committee hearing, saying, “I just want to make sure that members of this committee understand that this amendment is different from the one that many of us supported” in the past to shield state medical cannabis from federal interference, because it also applied to recreational firms. “It is allowing banks to essentially finance dealers of recreational marijuana,” Collins said. “I think that’s very different from medical marijuana, so I will be opposing this amendment.” Listen to the senator discuss the marijuana banking amendment, starting around 2:45:00 into the audio below: Before the panel voted in favor of the proposal, the senator offered that “this amendment could be narrowed to apply just to medical marijuana—in which case I would support it—but it applies to recreational marijuana as well, so I oppose it.” What happened in the years…

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Source : GOP Senator Who Trashed Marijuana Banking Amendment Years Ago Is Now Cosponsoring Reform Bill

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