“At some point, I have to go to Cory Gardner and say, ‘Why should the industry continue to support you?’” said Marijuana Policy Project’s Don Murphy, a former Republican lawmaker in Maryland. “I know you’re trying, but you’re not getting anything.”
Neither President Trump nor Vice President Biden have proposed a federal marijuana policy that aligns with the views of the American people. Anecdotal experience should never serve as the basis for making executive decisions that affect the lives of millions of Americans.
We applaud the legislature and the governor for implementing a policy that will allow law enforcement to focus resources on more serious crimes and prevent Virginians from having their lives derailed for possessing cannabis, a substance that is safer than alcohol.
The move to decriminalize cannabis possession in Virginia is long overdue. We applaud the legislature and the governor for implementing a policy that will allow law enforcement to focus resources on more serious crimes and prevent Virginians from having their lives derailed for possessing cannabis, a substance that is safer than alcohol.
Continuing to exclude the cannabis industry from accessing basic and essential financial services during this time will result in more harm than good. Not only will it make the country’s economic recovery that much harder, but the provisions intended to help minority-owned businesses would continue to be absent within the industry.
Advocates, stakeholders and lawmakers have been pushing for some form of cannabis reform to be inserted into COVID-19 legislation. The inclusion of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which was previously passed by the House as a standalone bill last year, represents a significant victory to that end. That said, it is unclear how the issue will fare in the Senate, whether as part of the COVID-19 response or otherwise.
According to the Marijuana Policy Project, there are approximately 3.09 million medical cannabis patients in the United States. These patients need medical cannabis to help them function in their daily lives, and that need does not go away just because the U.S. is in the midst of a global pandemic.
"I think between coronavirus and election season, we are in the bottom of the ninth," said Don Murphy, Marijuana Policy Project’s director of federal policies and a former Republican state lawmaker. "We do not have a whole lot of time for the other stuff."