Marijuana bill could protect cash-reliant dispensaries


(NewsNation) — The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to pass a bill Friday that would decriminalize marijuana on a federal level. However, the legislation is expected to face an uphill battle in the Senate where it would need 60 votes to pass.

The legislation follows Gallup polling that shows nearly 70% of Americans support legalizing marijuana.

So far, 18 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana. And significantly more, 37 in total, have legalized the medical use of marijuana.

The bill comes amid a wave of break-ins at marijuana businesses, which are often targeted because they rely on cash. In part, that’s because major banks are less willing to finance operations, given that marijuana is still illegal at the federal level.

In Oakland last November, a mob of about a dozen suspects broke in and looted a cannabis dispensary.

And just days ago in the Seattle area, a weed shop robbery turned deadly. Suspects shot and killed a worker before police officers killed the suspect.

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, also known as the MORE Act, is being considered on the House floor and would decriminalize marijuana and tax it.

The MORE Act, along with a companion bill that passed the house in April, could make it easier for banks to take on marijuana businesses as clients.

Cannabis company founder and author Jim Higdon said it’s long past time for this change.

“The lack of banking access to cannabis dispensaries has caused a significant risk to those businesses for robberies,” Higdon said.

This is the second time the MORE Act is being voted on in the House. In 2020, a version of the bill passed the House but did not advance in the Senate. Many expect the same thing to happen this time.

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