Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Monday condemned House Democrats for including a provision protecting banks that work with state-legal marijuana businesses in a large-scale bill that advanced through the chamber last week, calling it a “poison pill.” In a speech on the Senate floor, McConnell said that the House-passed America COMPETES Act, which focuses on trade competition with China, “goes out of its way to include provisions on, listen to this, marijuana banking.” “China has been steadily building up its military and economic might, and the Democrats’ answer is to help Americans get high,” he said, declining to note that the bipartisan Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act to which the provision was attached would not legalize cannabis but simply prevent financial institutions that work with marijuana businesses from being penalized by federal regulators. Supporters of the banking reform, which is sponsored by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), have argued that it is a critical public safety reform that has enjoyed bipartisan support. The congressman has insisted he will explore every avenue possible to get the policy change enacted before he retires from Congress at the session’s end. But McConnell isn’t having it. “Democrats plan to combat [fentanyl overdoses] is more marijuana on the side,” he said on the Senate floor. “Needless to say, this is not a winning strategy for global competition between great powers.” “Any Democrats hoping to yank the bill to the far left, or insert poison pills, are badly, badly mistaken,” the minority leader said.
Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 02/07/2022 17:23:00