Federal Cannabis Legislation Roundup: Part 2

There are tons of new proposals for federal cannabis legislation in Congress. We wanted to make things easy and clarify what they would do. This post covers the SAFE Banking Act, the Medical Marijuana Research Act, the Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act, and the Hemp Advancement Act. Part one in this series covered the MORE Act, the PREPARE Act, the States Reform Act, and the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.

SAFE Banking Act

Representative Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) introduced the SAFE Banking Act in March 2021. The general purpose of the bill is to “prohibit a federal banking regulator from penalizing a depository institution from providing banking services to a legitimate cannabis-related business.” Those prohibited penalties would include prohibiting terminating or limiting deposit insurance or share insurance just because the institution provides financial services to a cannabis-related business, and prohibiting or discouraging a depository institution from providing financial services to a cannabis-related business. The bill would also establish that proceeds from transactions involving a cannabis-related business would not be considered proceeds from unlawful activity, which would be subject to anti-money laundering regulations. The SAFE Banking Act passed through the House of Representatives on April 19, 2021, and has been read by the Senate and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs in the Senate.

Medical Marijuana Research Act

Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced the Medical Marijuana Research Act in October 2021. The bill would establish a new, separate registration process that facilitates medical marijuana research. It would direct the Drug Enforcement Agency to register practitioners to conduct medical marijuana research, and manufacturers and distributors to supply marijuana for research. The Medical Marijuana Research Act passed the House of Representatives on April 4, 2022, and has been received in the Senate, but has not been assigned to a committee.

Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act in February 2021. The bill is co-sponsored by seven other senators. It is one of the few bipartisan efforts to pass a Senate-sponsored bill aimed at marijuana research. It “would streamline the research process to allow FDA-approved marijuana-derived medications to be used to treat serious medical conditions.” Federal laws inhibit much medical research. Changes to federal law could be a huge benefit. The bill unanimously passed the Senate on March 28, 2022, and has been received in the House of Representatives.

Hemp Advancement Act

Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced the Hemp Advancement Act of 2022 in February 2022. True, this is not a marijuana bill, but it bears mentioning as well. The purpose of the bill is to remove red tape and regulatory uncertainty from the hemp production industry, which was federally legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill. The bill would eliminate difficult testing requirements, set reasonable thresholds for THC, and end the discriminatory practice of preventing people with drug convictions from legally cultivating hemp. The Hemp Advancement Act has been referred to the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research, but a vote on the bill has not happened yet.

If the prevalence of new federal cannabis legislation proves anything, it’s that there is a paradigm shift with cannabis. The challenge will be to agree on a proposal. With potential changes in the composition of Congress on the horizon, we will see whether this momentum can be sustained long enough to result in new federal legislation. We hope that Congress proposes more federal cannabis legislation for us to write about. Even better, let’s hope that something becomes law.

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