Earlier this year, Rep. Joyce took the language from the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, an annual budget rider protecting state-legal medical cannabis businesses from the federal government, and proposed that the appropriations committee add it to the 2019 budget bill. The committee supported these protections with a strong vote, but Joyce’s attempt to push the Safe Banking Amendment had no such luck.
The committee voted against including the amendment in the budget bill. After the vote, Joyce revised the amendment, creating a new version which only protected banks dealing with medical, not recreational marijuana. After a short debate, Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen demanded that Joyce withdraw the measure three times, and Joyce eventually acquiesced.
“The defeat of the Safe Banking Amendment was not a vote about marijuana, but rather it was about normalizing a nascent industry that serves hundreds-of-thousands of customers in the majority of U.S. states where cannabis is currently regulated,” Justin Strekal, political director of NORML, said in a statement. “Once these companies have an easier time conducting their day-to-day operations, then they should be willing to offer more consumer-friendly prices instead of inflating them at the point of sale to cover backend costs associated with operating as an all-cash business.”
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