Today, twelve members of the United States House of Representatives sent a letter to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) thanking him for addressing public health concerns in the consideration over the SAFE Banking Act, a bill to grant the marijuana industry access to the federal financial system.
“We understand you have received significant pushback from these businesses for raising public health questions related to their business practices and we urge you to stand strong,” said the signers of the letter. “While we have reservations with the unprecedented approach of allowing banking access for a schedule I drug, in addition to increasing investment in marijuana enterprises even as they remain federally illegal, we view the following items as the most critical problems with legislation that liberalizes federal law surrounding marijuana and would result in increased promotion of marijuana use…”
The letter explains that potency levels of today’s marijuana strains and products, the ongoing marijuana vaping crisis, and marijuana impaired driving are key public health issues that must be addressed prior to further consideration of the SAFE Banking Act, or any such legislation opening up the marijuana industry access to banks.
“We are thankful these members of Congress are choosing to stand in support of public health and safety by reassuring Senator Crapo that he is acting in the best interest of the country by slowing down the rush to extend the federally illegal marijuana industry access to banks,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action (SAM Action) and a former three-time White House drug policy advisor. “As former House Speaker John Boehner has pointed out, Big Tobacco, Big Pharma, and alcohol conglomerates are sitting on the sidelines, ready to invest billions in the marijuana industry here in the United States. The lack of banking access is keeping them at bay. In Canada, where the industry has banking access, billions of dollars in institutional investment from these nefarious actors are flowing in. With the host of unknown health harms that can result from today’s super potent pod products, the risks of expanding this industry are too great.”
“I want to thank Sen. Crapo for his leadership in introducing a public health perspective to the issue of banking for the marijuana industry,”said Representative Ted Budd (NC-13), who led the letter to Senator Crapo. “I believe that we need a full examination of these harms to ensure that Americans, especially our children, don’t fall into an unhealthy lifestyle.”
“The SAFE Banking Act jeopardizes public safety by legitimizing banking access for a Schedule I drug. It is important that we continue to tread lightly and consider public health concerns that surround the marijuana industry,” said Representative Ken Buck (CO-04). “That’s why I opposed the SAFE Banking Act when it came to a vote in the House of Representatives and urge Senator Crapo to weigh these concerns when considering this legislation in the Senate.”
The letter, available here, comes in response to a letter sent to Senator Crapo by the original cosponsors of the SAFE Banking Act (Representatives Ed Perlmutter, Denny Heck, Steve Stivers, and Warren Davidson,) arguing the bill does not need to be bogged down by public health and safety considerations.
It is signed by the following members of the US House:
Representative Robert Aderholt
Representative Andy Biggs
Representative Dan Bishop
Representative Ken Buck
Representative Ted Budd
Representative Paul Gosar
Representative Andy Harris
Representative Doug Lamborn
Representative Debbie Lesko
Representative Mark Meadows
Representative Hal Rogers
Representative David Rouzer