Schumer Says Congress ‘Very Close’ To Passing Banking And Marijuana Decriminalization Bill After Working With ‘A Bunch Of Republicans’ | Techy Kings

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Congress is “closer” to introducing and passing a marijuana bill with provisions that cover banking access for legal businesses and eliminating past convictions, citing progress he has made in talks with “a group of Republican Senator.”

During a debate with her Republican re-election opponent Joe Pinion on Sunday, Schumer was asked about the broader marijuana legalization bill she filed this year and whether she felt it made more sense to first promote more research on marijuana. before ending the ban.

Although the top senator said that research is “very, very important,” he pointed out that “many states have passed the legalization of marijuana,” and therefore the policy is already “on us.”

“But we’re getting closer,” Schumer said in the debate, hosted by Spectrum News. “I worked in a bipartisan way with Democrats and Republicans to take down the SAFE Banking Act, which allowed financial institutions to involve themselves in marijuana companies and lend money to them—but it also did some things for fairness, like erasing records. “

He gave the example of a 15-year-old arrested for “a small amount of marijuana” who ended up being sentenced in a manner consistent with possessing and selling heroin and whose “life was destroyed.”

“So, clearing the record is important, and we’re getting closer,” Schumer said. “We might be able to get something done soon. I’m working with a bunch of Republican senators, a bunch of Democratic senators, to get something passed.”

What the senators were talking about was the long-awaited SAFE Plus package, which is expected to build on a stand-alone marijuana banking measure that has passed the House in some form seven times now but which has stalled in the Senate under Democratic and Republican control.

The plan, according to some lawmakers, is to file a modest marijuana reform package sometime during the lame-duck session following next week’s midterm elections, pass it through both chambers and send it to the president’s desk before the end of the current Congress.

Meanwhile, Pinion, the Republican challenger, was asked his thoughts on ending the federal ban on marijuana at the debate and began by saying that “we have to address the fact that we’re not talking about your mom and dad’s drugs.”

“We’re talking THC levels that are off the charts,” he said. “I think you bring up a good point, the notion that we’re going to release it to the people at the federal level before we’ve actually done our due diligence seems reckless and irresponsible. Just my thoughts.”

He then made a pivot to the opioid overdose crisis, suggesting that there is a prevalence of marijuana laced with fentanyl and saying “we now have people who are trying to smoke marijuana and are going to die.”

“There are unintended consequences. It’s a thread that runs through all of this, from the border crisis to this conversation about marijuana, because Chuck Schumer is not participating in securing our borders and people are dying,” Pinion said. “So I think, if we’re going to go down this road at the federal level, we should do so in a way that recognizes that these decisions have dire consequences and that people are actually dying, in some cases, because of them.”

The SAFE Plus bill that Schumer is working to finalize with bipartisan and bicameral input is not expected to include language that would federally legalize marijuana, however.

Last month, the House sponsor for the marijuana banking bill said that he recently spoke with the majority leader at an event at the White House and discussed the need to enact bipartisan reforms this session.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) said that he impressed the leader on the importance of his SAFE Banking Act and Schumer assured him that the chamber is “working on it” and “will continue” on reforms.

Lawmakers have signaled that the SAFE Plus law would contain protections for banks that work with state legal marijuana businesses, as well as other modest proposals to provide medical marijuana access for military veterans, promote research and more.

One thing that Schumer is not in the works is a plan to allow Amtrak car passengers to buy and use marijuana during their trip, as some people have come to believe after a fake news article was published last week. His office confirmed to Marijuana Moment that the story was fabricated.

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Photo courtesy of Senate Democrats.

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