Biden Approaches Trifecta of Cannabis Reform Wish-List

Biden Approaches Trifecta of Cannabis Reform Wish-List
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Perhaps President Joe Biden is being swept along by the tide of history—or is shrewd enough to propitiously read the prevailing cultural climate. But thanks to his signature (or pledge thereof), the cannabis community is on the cusp of three major breakthroughs. Expungement and Financial Access After a long career of ambiguity on the cannabis question, in October Biden encouraged advocates by announcing pardons for all federal offenses of simple cannabis possession—and calling on governors to follow suit on the state level (where it would have far more practical effect, since the big majority of such cases are under state law). Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Dave Joyce (R-OH) followed through on this move with a bill to incentivize state and local governments to expunge the criminal records of small-scale cannabis offenders. The Harnessing Opportunities by Pursuing Expungement (HOPE) Act would appropriate $20 million dollars to the Justice Department for assisting states and localities in reviewing and expunging cannabis convictions.  This would appear to face slim odds in the lame-duck Congress, where the Democrats will maintain their razor-thin majority in the Senate but cede the House to similarly narrow GOP control pursuant to last month’s mid-term elections. Senate Republicans have six times killed the Secure & Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which would allow cannabis businesses operating in conformity with state law to access financial services, including the federal banking system.  But now there is an initiative afoot to combine the two measures as a “SAFE Plus” bill. The idea has the support of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. On Oct. 31, Schumer told Yahoo! Finance that Congress is “very close to passing cannabis banking and expungement legislation,” after he’d made progress in swaying “a bunch of Republican senators.” And there have indeed been signs of GOP intransigence starting to bend on these questions—the current version of the SAFE Banking Act…

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Source : Biden Approaches Trifecta of Cannabis Reform Wish-List

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