On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) unveiled the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, the first draft of a long-anticipated Senate bill to federally legalize marijuana. The bill would also expunge prior marijuana convictions, allow people to petition for resentencing, maintain the authority of states to set their own marijuana policies and remove collateral consequences like immigration-related penalties for people who’ve been criminalized over the plant. Notably for RCRC, although the bill does not specifically mention cannabis banking, its provisions ending the federal prohibition of marijuana would automatically remove any penalties that financial institutions currently could face as a result of working with licensed cannabis businesses because those operations would no longer be federally illegal.
Despite more and more states continuing to legalize marijuana, President Joe Biden remains opposed to the reform. Minutes after the draft legislation was unveiled, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki emphasized the President’s opposition to the legislation, but added that the President would be “encouraged” by efforts to advance more incremental reform, such as decriminalizing possession.
Click here for a full breakdown of the draft proposals’ provisions and also note that this is merely a draft piece of legislation released “to spark conversation to inform what will be a formal introduction of the bill at a later date.”