Two more Senate Democrats expressed support for the U.S. Senate bill that would decriminalize and deschedule cannabis on the federal level.
The new cosponsors of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA), which was unveiled on Thursday, are Assistant Democratic Leader Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), according to Marijuana Moment. The two join the bill’s three prime sponsors: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).
“It is long past time the federal government catches up to Washington state when it comes to cannabis laws,” Murray said in a press release. “This legislation is about justice, strengthening our economy, and bringing the federal government into the 21st century.”
The senator also emphasized that the measure would “undo deeply unfair and racially unjust laws that have disproportionately harmed people of color.”
Interestingly, the senator’s statement also addressed the bipartisan Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, a piece of legislation that was approved by the House members seven times so far but failed to advance in the Senate.
“While the reforms we are pushing for are critical and long overdue—I remain fully committed to passing SAFE Banking however possible—including as a standalone bill,” Murray said. “It makes absolutely no sense that legal cannabis businesses are forced to operate entirely in cash and my bill would bring them into the formal banking system where they belong.”
The bipartisan marijuana banking reform measure aims to protect financial institutions that wish to provide their services to state-legal marijuana businesses.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), the bill’s House sponsor, recently filed an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which would include the marijuana banking reform bill.
Support for the enactment of the policy reform is broad, with the latest push coming from the American Bankers Association (ABA) and other financial organizations.