Mitch McConnell on poison pill
Mitch McConnell on poison pill

Mitch McConnell Hates Weed, Get Over It! - Senator Calls Safe Banking Act a Poison Pill in Latest Anti-Pot Rhetoric

The Senate leader is calling safe banking access for cannabis companies a poison pill in current bills

Posted by:
Joseph Billions on Monday Feb 28, 2022

mitch mcconnell poison pill

Cannabis reforms have been described as many things over the years, but the "poison pill" is unprecedented.


Mitch McConnell sounds convinced that the SAFE Banking Act is not the right call for now. According to the Senate Minority Leader, the cannabis banking measure is basically going to promote irresponsible consumption of weed among adult Americans. In his words, the bill will only help Americans get stoked on pot.


However, Mitch McConnell is not the only lawmaker opposing the bill; he has been the most vocal as of late. Some weeks ago, the House majority approved the SAFE Banking measure for the sixth time, but some senators were adamant about opposing the bill till the very end of the Senate chambers. Obviously, McConnell is one.


The Cannabis Banking Act

The House of Representatives approved the America Competes Act for 2022, short for "The America Creating Opportunities For Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength Act." Embedded within this measure are provisions of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. The main objective of this bill is to help the United States regain its position as the world's richest and strongest nation. China assumed this position in 2021, thanks to its innovative semiconductor production and education.


Pro-cannabis lawmakers believe that cannabis banking could be the propelling force that the U.S. needs to compete with China. In the last decade, the bill has been sent to the Senate five times as an independent measure or an amendment. The sponsor of the bill is Representative Ed Perlmutter. He has remained consistent with his belief that traditional financial institutions should serve legal cannabis businesses across the country.


As with all reform policies relating to federal cannabis laws, the SAFE Banking Act has received mixed views in the Senate. Despite being the sixth time it has been sent to this chamber, the political environment remains as divisive as ever.


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has fueled the anti-cannabis camp by ramping up verbal attacks against the proposed SAFE Act. Just last week, he accused the Democrat majority of voting to include what he referred to as a "poison pill" in the country's comprehensive spending bill. He says the SAFE Banking Act should not be a priority right now, especially when other countries like China spend to improve their military and economic capacity.


Wrong Priorities

McConnell's remarks on the Senate floor some days ago suggest that he sees very little wisdom in the strategy being proposed by Democrats to win the global competition against China. He condescendingly said that Democrats choose to get Americans high, whereas their counterparts in China are working tirelessly to improve their military and economic strength.

According to McConnel, it is foolhardy to combat the rampant opiate overdoses with accessible and cheap marijuana. Great powers like the United States need better winning strategies to take back and maintain their position at the top.


McConnell made a misinformed statement while giving his remarks. He said that Democrats planning to include poison pills (cannabis reforms) or move the bill over to the far left would be making a very costly mistake. The truth is that the SAFE Act bill is not part of a plan but rather a bipartisan affair. It is supported by Democrats and Republicans alike. Not only the safe banking bill but also other cannabis reform policies that have been proposed in recent years.


Left to McConnel, that Senate session would have been the last time the SAFE Banking Act was discussed. However, thanks to organizations like the United States Cannabis Council, the SAFE Banking Act will be debated further. The organization is committed to ensuring critical cannabis legislation is no longer dismissed casually. Not to mention the rising concern over the spate of thefts plaguing cannabis stores just because they have limited cashless transactions.


Cannabis Bank Reform Offers More

Mitch McConnell's description of cannabis reforms as "poison pills" is more or less a slap in the face to advocates and lawmakers who recognize the bill's potential. Steven Hawkins, CEO of the U.S. Cannabis Council, stated that cannabis is not and will never be "just a punchline."


Hawkins commented that the American cannabis industry is on the fast track. The bidding industry currently supports at least 300,000 jobs and could surpass about $30 billion in revenue before December. He says that cannabis could have different meanings to different people. To some, it is technology, or finance, science, medicine, recreation, and, of course, agriculture.


The SAFE Banking Act shouldn't be referred to as a "poison pill," nor is it about making sure adult Americans get high enough regularly. It is an important bill that focuses on fairness and public safety, and health. It is about eliminating the fear of being robbed from the minds of cannabis business owners and providing the essential banking services rendered to other sectors to the cannabis sector. It is about putting small, minority, and veteran-owned businesses at the forefront of the industry to benefit from the pot. It is most essential to make the cannabis industry as cashless as possible, rather than forcing a massive industry to conduct all of its transactions in cash.


Out of fifty states in the country, thirty have either a medical cannabis policy or cannabis decriminalization legislation, while fifteen have legalized the recreational use of cannabis. This equates to hundreds, even thousands, of big and small cannabis businesses with little or no access to banking services. The absence of progressive cannabis policies hinders the progress of the industry and subjects operators to unfair restrictions in a competitive global industry.


Bottom Line

The strong bipartisan support for the SAFE Banking Act in the Senate and House chambers is impressive. Advocates are encouraged to hold on steady as everyone looks forward to judiciously engaging the Senate on the merits of cannabis banking reforms.


Lawmakers like McConnell need to be briefed on the potential effects of cannabis on medical research, manufacturing, and the financial sector. Or else, the SAFE Banking Act will continue in this cycle of being passed into the House and rejected in the Senate. There are high hopes that the bill will finally be passed before this year's session is concluded.








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