GOP wants to delay SAFE Act

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Certain lawmakers aren’t ready to move forward with marijuana banking

Tomorrow, a congressional committee is ready to vote on the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which would ultimately allow marijuana businesses and banks to work together for the first time since states began legalizing consumption. The bill already has 143 cosponsors, which represents just under a third of the House, and everything seemed to be moving forward. That is, until two GOP lawmakers got involved.

Both Republican lawmakers, Blain Luetkemeyer from Montana and Patrick McHenry from North Carolina, want the vote to be delayed to allow for further studies. The two legislators are ranking minority members of the Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Subcommittee and the full House Financial Services Committee (FSC), respectively.

In a letter to the FSC chair, Maxine Waters, the lawmakers wrote, “As you know, marijuana is a schedule I controlled substance… The impact that many state laws, which have legalized marijuana, have on the federal laws governing the manufacturing, use, and sale of marijuana, including proceeds, raise many questions and concerns. Any change to these statutes, or those that impact them, has the potential to divide the Congress and the country. We must ensure that Congress has done its due diligence, including conducting thorough oversight and review, before moving such legislation.”

It’s strange to imagine that the SAFE Act would “divide the country,” given that more than 70% of the population favor marijuana reform and a number of groups from around the world – including the World Health Organization and the United Nations – are calling for marijuana to be descheduled as a Schedule I controlled substance.

Fortunately, it seems like the vote will still move forward. However, the dissent on the part of the lawmakers shows that there are still those who aren’t willing to accept marijuana’s legitimate place in society.