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Cannabis Lobbying Heats Up As Congress Looks At Pot Banking


The cannabis industry and others who stand to benefit from pot legalization have been boosting their lobbying presence on Capitol Hill.  Banks, marijuana delivery services, and veterans groups helped drive cannabis-related lobbying revenues to $2.5 million in 2018, according to lobbying disclosure filings.  The stepped-up efforts came as more states legalized marijuana, creating a disconnect with federal law, which still classifies marijuana as an illegal substance. Cannabis is legal in some form—from limited medical use to full recreational use — in more than 30 states.


In the financial services sector, the push has been for a “safe harbor” from sanctions for banks in states where pot is legal.  “It is critically important that cannabis-related businesses (CRBs) have access to services provided by the traditional banking system,” the Independent Community Bankers of America says on its website.  State Bank Northwest President Gregory Deckard is to testify on behalf of that group Wednesday at a House Financial Services Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Subcommittee hearing on banking services for pot businesses.


Indian tribes have joined the lobbying on marijuana. Firms representing the Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, the Suquamish Tribe and the Puyallup Tribe have all listed cannabis or marijuana issues on disclosure forms.  Thompson Consulting Group, which lobbies on behalf of the Puyallup Tribe, said in the disclosures the firm would “communicate with congressional offices on economic development and cannabis issues.” It has not been active, however, on the tribe’s behalf since the end of March 2018.


The community bankers began listing “cannabis banking” on its lobbying disclosure forms early last year. The Credit Union National Association has been lobbying on marijuana issues since 2013, according to lobbying disclosures filed with Congress.  The credit union group has been lobbying on marijuana issues since 2013, according to lobbying disclosures filed with Congress. The community bankers began listing “cannabis banking” on its lobbying disclosure forms early last year.


VAWA Reauthorization (H.R. 1585)


Individuals convicted of stalking couldn’t possess firearms under H.R. 1585 which would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. The measure as posted by the House Rules Committee, would authorize more than $1 billion annually through fiscal 2024 for federal grant programs to prevent and respond to violent crimes. The Justice Department’s Office of Violence Against Women administers most of the programs and received $497.5 million in the fiscal 2019 omnibus spending package (Public Law 116-6). The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was last reauthorized in 2013 (Public Law 113-4) and expired on Feb. 15 after several temporary extensions, most recently under Public Law 166-5.


The measure “is a significant update to VAWA that will strengthen and enhance the vital services currently provided under the law to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said at the bill’s markup. Republicans opposed the bill in committee, including provisions related to guns and transgender prisoners.