Sen. Cory Booker is the lead sponsor of a cannabis legalization measure that was recently filed in the Senate. The measure was cosponsored by Ron Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Booker has, in the past, resisted calls to approve marijuana banking bills, citing that before this is done, comprehensive legalization needs to be enacted. The legalization measure was discussed at the hearing before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, which is chaired by Booker. Toward the end of the meeting, the bipartisan SAFE Baking Act was also discussed, with Booker making comments that left many with the impression that he did see a path forward for a version of the banking measure in the short term.
He discussed an experience he’d had in Illinois, where he met with Black marijuana entrepreneurs who had sold their belongings, been forced to take out mortgages on their homes and essentially crippled themselves financially just so they could stay afloat in the cannabis industry. He also talked about concerns with the economic status quo of the marijuana industry, particularly as it relates to the inadequate representation of businesses run by minorities.
Booker explained that unlike economically and socially disadvantaged entrepreneurs, larger cannabis corporations were still thriving despite prohibition because they had access to financial services and capital. He noted that it was frustrating to see communities that were most affected by the prohibition of cannabis being excluded and not being adequately represented in this industry, which was still growing.
He also talked about how allowing the SAFE Banking measure to be approved would hinder larger corporations and individuals who already have resources from squeezing out individuals with past cannabis convictions and those from lower income backgrounds.
In the past, Booker and his colleagues have suggested that the banking bill would primarily benefit large companies, which lacks the equity component they are championing for in broader measures such as the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. Thus far, the SAFE Banking Act has been approved in the House seven times but stalled in the Senate consistently, largely because of Booker’s opposition in bringing it to a vote. Last year, Booker stated that he would do everything to stop an easy banking measure that would enable corporations to make more money off this, instead of focusing on the aspect of restorative justice.
Booker revealed in an interview after the hearing that he understood the banking bill’s urgency but was hopeful that they could get the SAFE Banking Act with restorative justice principles added, approved.
The entire cannabis sector, including companies such as Prime Harvest Inc., would see some relief when tangible reforms are enacted at the federal level so that the marijuana industry attains some measure of normalcy in its operations relative to other industries in the economy.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Prime Harvest Inc. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/PRIME
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