Highlights from the first Congressional marijuana hearing

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The hearing should open new doors for the national marijuana industry

The first marijuana hearing held by Congress during the current session has drawn to a close. It was held yesterday, marking the first step toward what will hopefully be acceptance of marijuana’s place in society and legalization that will open new doors for businesses to have access to banking, research and new technology. While the hearing didn’t conclusively provide any progress, it was still an important step in broaching the subject at the federal level.

One of the big topics was banking. Some of the questions asked were important, such as how transparency in a cash-only industry is created, while others were simply absurd. One lawmaker in attendance actually asked of the cash used by marijuana businesses smelled like cannabis.

A draft bill on banking was distributed head of the hearing in order to give lawmakers a chance to review what is at stake. One of the bill’s sponsors, Washington State Representative Denny Heck, stated at the hearing, “Today, after six years, we finally have a hearing, and it comes too late. Too late to prevent dozens of armed robberies in my home state of Washington. Too late for Travis Mason… a 24-year-old Marine veteran in Aurora, Colorado, who reported for work as a security guard and Green Heart Dispensary on June 18, 2016, and was shot dead that night by an armed robber.”

Another sponsor of the same bill, Ed Perlmutter, said that lawmakers are within their rights to oppose legislation. He added, “But the American voters have spoken, and continue to speak, and the fact is you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Prohibition is over.”

Turnout for the hearing was significant, showing that lawmakers on Capitol Hill are finally taking the subject seriously. Now, all the country needs is for its appointed legislators to come together and help the marijuana industry evolve as it rightfully should.