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Reader: It's an Insult to Keep Treating Cannabis Like a Drug!

Colorado Representative Ed Perlmutter has been working on marijuana banking reform since 2013.
Colorado Representative Ed Perlmutter has been working on marijuana banking reform since 2013.
United States Congress

Recreational marijuana is legal in almost a dozen states, and medical marijuana in a majority...but cannabis is still illegal federally, and so cannabis businesses are not eligible for federal aid approved in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Although many states consider marijuana "essential," the industry is still incurring costs in dealing with COVID-19. And so many lawmakers, who've already been concerned about the industry's lack of access to banking services, are trying to help them get access to aid, with Colorado Representative Ed Perlmutter leading the way. Last week, he and other industry stakeholders asked that language from the SAFE Banking Act be included in COVID-19 relief bills.

Says Michael:

 They've been open, sales are crazy good.... Weed industry doesn't need any help....

Adds Michele: 

Pot shops have NOT been ordered to close. The money is for business that have had to send people home, or cut hours, due to closures. The freaking pot industry just hit some record sales, fuck that!?

Responds Joe: 

As someone who works at a dispensary, I can tell you that while sometimes sales are good, the costs have been huge as we deal with social-distancing rules and other changes.

Says Chris:

 It makes a hell of a lot more sense than a church getting our tax money.

Adds Patrick: 

What did a church do to ever help fight cancer?  It’s like an insult to societies to keep treating weed like a “drug." It’s fucking medicine for every human being that consumes.

And Bill concludes: 

If you pay taxes in, then it's your money coming back. It's never their money.

And cannabis businesses definitely pay taxes in.

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"Cannabis businesses and their employees already face a significant public safety risk without access to the banking system, and the COVID-19 crisis has only exacerbated this risk with these essential businesses having to move their cash-only transactions outside the store,” Pelmutter says. “At the same time, many of these businesses are facing disruptions in their supply chain and in normal operations, and they should be eligible for relief just like any other legal, legitimate business during this pandemic. I will continue to push for inclusion of the SAFE Banking Act or other forms of relief for this industry in the next package.”

What do you think of Perlmutter's stance? Post a comment or email marijuana@westword.com.

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