Sunday , June 20 2021

Watch Live: The First Hearing of Marijuana at the New Congress



The first hearing of marijuana at the 116th Congress began on Wednesday. Parliament's subcommittee asked witnesses how access to the banking sector can improve public safety, how the functioning of the cash-only basis discourages transparency and at one point whether the money in these businesses smells of cannabis.

"The lack of a wider, permanent regulatory framework continues to hold virtually all banks outside of this growing industry, despite clear interest," said Subcommittee Chairman Gregory Mix (D-NY) at the beginning of the session. "Today's hearing will allow us to start discussing the draft laws that will ensure transparency, accountability and turn to a major driver of violent crimes in this space."

Before a hearing, a bipartisan group of legislators circulated a bill to protect banks from sanctions by federal financial regulators and claim that profits from cannabis-related transactions "are not considered as proceeds from an illegal activity."

"Today, after six years, we finally have a hearing and it's too late," said Deny Hek (D-WA), who is the co-legislator, in his discovery. "It's too late to prevent dozens of armed robberies in my native state of Washington. Too late for Travis Mason … A 24-year-old Marine Corps veteran in Aurora, Colorado, who reported work as a Green Heart Guard and Dispensary on June 18, 2016, and was shot tonight by an armed thief. "

"We have the power in this committee to prevent murders and armed robberies," he said, referring to the fact that preventing banks from accessing banks means they have to work on the basis of all the money. "We have to use it and we need to use it now because we are already late."

Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), another co-sponsor of the bill, said that if MPs oppose legalization, "that's their job."

"But American voters have spoken and continue to speak, and the fact is you can not bring the spirit back to the bottle," he said. – The ban is over.

Witnesses of the hearing were California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, Executive Director of the Law Enforcement Partnership, Major Neale Franklin, Bank Representatives, DC Marijuana Owner, and SAM Chairman. ).

"The Committee is undoubtedly aware that the cannabis business is not the only one struggling to gain access to banking, although they are the most difficult situation. Any business handling significant amounts of currency is also subject to greater control by the financial services industry for all the reasons that are well understood by members of that committee, "Ma said in a written statement.

She said that "the effective safe harbor mechanism in federal legislation promotes public safety, improves the efficiency of tax collection and the charges we use to regulate industry, and does not allow banks and credit unions to give up their responsibilities to know the avoidance of illegal money laundering. "

Repeat. Ted Lee (D-CA) said he was happy to see Ma testimonies. Legal Marijuana "is here to stay. Entrepreneurs and consumers deserve safe banking opportunities, "he wrote on Twitter.

Representative Dina Tith (D-NV) repeated this point and said Nevada "is proof that the era of marijuana ban is over" and that it is time for the federal government to start acting like that.

Franklin, a retired police officer from Maryland, said the current laws "encourage tax fraud, add expensive monitoring and accounting costs, and – most importantly – leave legitimate businesses vulnerable to thefts, robbery and violence that accompany these crimes."

"I'm not a man of fear – what I testify today is rooted in experience and research," he said. "Any policeman who has worked on the street or investigating enough thefts will testify to the same in respect of any business forced to handle large sums of money."

He told the subcommittee members that "the safety of thousands of employees, business owners, security officers, police officers and community members is in your hands."

Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), chairman of the full-fledged Financial Services Commission, thanked Mix for making the first subcommittee listening to the meeting and calling it "so important."

"So many people have been waiting for him," said Waters, before the subcommittee broke. – I appreciate it very much.

The hearing was well attended, with representative Alexandria Occasio-Cortez (D-NY) stressing in a chirping showing a number of people who hold their seats in line for lobbyists and "those who can afford it pay people to keep the place its ".

During the hearing, Occasio-Cortes asked whether granting access to the marijuana banking industry would "complicate the gap between race riches at the moment" by giving priority to predominantly white, wealthy business owners over communities affected by the drug war .

Cory Barnett, the DC marijuana owner, said he agrees that the industry as it is today does not reflect society as a whole, but also claims that access to banking services can provide even the smaller future owners of business funds that are a "near" cannabis company.

During one of the lightest moments of the hearing, Rashida Tleib (D-MI) representative asked Barnett if the money in his dispensary smelled of marijuana.

"I heard it was true," Tileb said. "The money does not smell, does it?"

"That's the case in some cases," Barnett said.

While SAM chairman Jonathon Talcott rarely appealed to members during the hearing, Roger Williams (R-TX) asked the witness whether it was a "universally acknowledged fact that marijuana is not a loophole and has no negative negative impacts on the public. health. "

Talcott argues that cannabis "is a very clear loophole drug" and spreads anecdotes to "marijuana-induced psychosis" in countries that have legalized.

Heck, one of the banking bankers in the banking sector, turned to his motivation to be a defender of financial services legislation for the marijuana industry. He said he was his brother, who died after he was exposed to herbicides during the Vietnam War.

"By the end of his life, the only relief he could find was the illegal consumption of marijuana," Heck said. "I have always thought and lived with the irony that the same nation who asked my brother to wear a uniform and put his life at risk – an activity that ultimately took his life – held him a criminal when he found the relief just in one way.

And if the creation of a precautionary measure for banks facilitates the marijuana business to provide that relief to patients, then that is enough to fight for reforms, "heck said.

"Congress has the opportunity to make a simple policy change that will be of great benefit to communities and small businesses by approving banking cannabis reform," said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, in a press release. "The representatives of Perlmutter and Heck should be congratulated for insisting on this hearing in order to attract the attention it deserves and move on to a prudent policy that will raise public security and transparency in this turbulent industry . "

A spokesman for Earl Blommenauer (D-OR), who published a plan outlining the legislative path for legalizing marijuana, said in a press release that tackling "access to the banking problem" was "one of the first dominoes to fall" .

The hearing shows that Congress "has finally made progress in overcoming the irrational, unfair and insecure denial of regular banking services for marijuana state-owned enterprises across the country," he said.

"Today's hearing was a big deal for the thousands of employees, businesses and communities all over the country who were at risk because they were forced to deal with stacks of money while Congress pressed their head into the sand," the co-ordinator of the bill, the press. "The American voters have spoken and continue to speak, and the fact is you can not bring the spirit back to the bottle. SAFE Banking Law focuses solely on making money from the streets and making our communities safer, and only Congress can take these steps to ensure this security for businesses and financial institutions across the country. "

"Today we listened to the hours of testimony of the dangerous position in which we put store owners and employees by forcing them to do all their work in cash. We can fix that. We do not have to force them to act in a way that makes it difficult for them to track and track their funds, "heck added. "Despite our opinion of the use of marijuana, voters have decided in countries around the country that they want recreation and drug markets. Continuing to do nothing to protect public safety will be negligence. "

This is the marijuana Bank Democrat plans to pass in 2019: Project released text

Photo courtesy of the Chamber of Financial Services / YouTube.

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