In 2021, thanks mainly to semiconductor manufacturing and education, China surpassed the U.S. as the world’s wealthiest nation. The America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength Act of 2022 (America COMPETES Act) is intended to help the U.S. compete with China.
On February 4, the House of Representatives voted to approve the America COMPETES Act, which included the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act). The bill now heads to the Senate.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell continued his knee-jerk obstructionist and divisive ways by criticizing the inclusion of the SAFE Banking Act in the broader spending bill. Continuing to demonstrate his glaring lack of understanding of modern America, McConnell condescendingly attacked the issue while speaking to the Senate about China.
“China has been steadily building up its military and economic might, and the Democrats’ answer is to help Americans get high,” McConnell said.
The U.S. Cannabis Council is determined to counterattack McConnell’s unique brand of obstructionism.
“The SAFE Banking Act isn’t about Americans getting high. It’s about public safety and fairness,” said U.S. Cannabis Council CEO Steven Hawkins. “It’s about providing basic banking services to small, minority, and veteran-owned businesses and not forcing a multi-billion dollar industry to conduct business entirely in cash.”
Strings of robberies have been plaguing dispensaries across the country because they are forced to deal in cash without the full complement of business banking options. The SAFE Banking Act was introduced to allow banks and other financial institutions to work with state-legal cannabis businesses.
McConnell’s reductive rhetoric also underscores his ignorance of the beneficial economic impact legalized marijuana has had in the 46 states that have legalized or decriminalized cannabis.
“Subjecting this rapidly-growing industry to unfair banking restrictions absolutely makes America less competitive and less safe,” said Hawkins.
Undaunted, McConnell blissfully flaunted his ignorance on other marijuana-related topics.
“Democrats plan to combat [opioid overdoses] is more marijuana on the side,” said McConnell.
“Cannabis isn’t a punchline,” said Hawkins. “Cannabis is agriculture, technology, finance, science, medicine, and yes, recreation.”
A recent study showed marijuana to be the fifth largest crop in the U.S. The cannabis industry is growing rapidly. The industry currently supports over 300,000 American jobs and is on pace to reach $30 billion in revenue this year.
Additionally, a quick internet search by any of McConnell’s more tech-savvy young aides would yield multiple articles extolling the advances and advantages of using marijuana to relieve opioid withdrawal and even to replace opioids for pain relief. But McConnell seems determined to perpetuate rhetoric of division and stagnation.
“Any Democrats hoping to yank the bill to the far left, or insert poison pills, are badly, badly mistaken,” said McConnell.
But the issue of cannabis isn’t part of a “far-left” agenda. Recent polling data compiled by Rasmussen Reports shows it’s a bipartisan issue. The majority of Democrats and Republicans support legalizing cannabis and banking for cannabis businesses.
“We are encouraged by the strong bipartisan support for the SAFE Banking Act in both chambers,” said Hawkins. “We look forward to substantively engaging Congressional leaders from both parties on its merits and are optimistic that it will pass this session.”
Senator Perlmutter says Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is also stalling cannabis reform – for different (more altruistic) motives. Schumer insists on prioritizing social equity before considering federal legalization. The supermajority of Americans now supports cannabis reform.