Today, members of Smart Approaches to Marijuana New Hampshire (SAM NH) an affiliate of SAM Action, joined New Hampshire State Senator Bob Giuda, Emergency Room Physician Dr. David Strang, and Lebanon, New Hampshire Police Chief Richard Mello in urging Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, as well as Representatives Ann Kuster and Chris Pappas, to oppose efforts to extend banking access to the marijuana industry in the midst of the pot vaping crisis and the opioid epidemic.
“As a medical doctor, I am extremely concerned about the potential unintended consequences associated with passing the SAFE Banking Act,” said Dr. David Strang, an Emergency Medicine Specialist and Chairman of the New Hampshire Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Advisory Council. “Sound scientific evidence, not financial urgency, should guide both federal and state marijuana policies. As it stands, the scientific evidence does not favor rewarding this industry with banking access and institutional investment.”
“We are currently in the middle of a multi-faceted health crisis,” said State Senator Bob Giuda. “People are getting sick and dying from a lung illness from which the majority of cases are tied to vaping marijuana, the opioid epidemic continues to ravage Americans, and the Surgeon General is urging people to avoid using today’s highly potent pot. Our representatives in Congress should follow the lead of my fellow state lawmakers and oppose expanding this addiction-for-profit industry.”
The press conference featured a letter to the New Hampshire Congressional delegation that highlights a recent push by former Directors of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and former Administrators of the Drug Enforcement Administration to educate lawmakers as to their concerns with allowing the marijuana industry banking access. Chief among these concerns is that banking access would be a boon for cartels and other criminal organizations seeking to launder money through the industry.
Additionally, the letter outlines the health harms of high potency marijuana, such as being mass-produced by the marijuana industry, and explains the culprit behind the ongoing fatal vaping crisis seems to be the use of marijuana vapes.
“Our state has routinely rejected marijuana commercialization, it’s time our representatives in Congress put our health and prosperity ahead of the demands of Big Pot,” said Bill Luti, a representative of SAM NH. “We cannot allow our federal lawmakers to effectively legalize marijuana through back door means such as granting banking access.”
“Banking access for the marijuana industry will put pedal to the metal on Big Marijuana exploiting communities of color and low income,” said Abu Edwards, Director of State Affairs for SAM Action. “Additionally, with such a hazy understanding of the health effects of high potency marijuana and potentially fatal products on the market, any expansion and promotion of increased marijuana use is misguided.”