GOP House Committee's Lifts D.C. Cannabis Sales Ban In 2025 Spending Bill, Adds Federal Bank Safeguards

Zinger Key Points
  • A GOP House committee introduces a bill removes the ban on D.C. using local funds to regulate recreational cannabis.
  • New banking protections in the bill aim to shield financial institutions working with state-legal cannabis businesses.
  • This development contrasts with President Biden's previous budget proposals, maintaining the D.C. cannabis sales ban.

A GOP House committee has introduced a spending bill that removes the longstanding prohibition on Washington, D.C. from legalizing recreational cannabis sales. The House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Subcommittee initiative also introduces new safeguards for banks engaging with state-legal cannabis businesses.

2025 Spending Bill: A Major Shift For Cannabis?

The fiscal year 2025 spending bill, presented on Tuesday, marks a notable departure from previous sessions. Spearheading this change is Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH), co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus and the primary advocate for bipartisan cannabis banking reform. Joyce’s leadership has seen the exclusion of the rider that barred D.C. from using local funds to regulate recreational cannabis, a provision championed by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) in prior years.

Notably, President Joe Biden’s administration had consistently maintained this ban, making its removal in a GOP-led committee particularly surprising. "Forcing cannabis businesses to operate in all cash is a magnet for violent crime," Joyce told Marijuana Moment.

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Cannabis Banking Protections And Controversial Provisions

Furthermore, section 134 of the bill seeks to prevent federal regulators from penalizing financial institutions for providing services to state-licensed cannabis and hemp businesses. While these protections are not as comprehensive as those in the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, they could represent an important step forward.

The bill includes provisions that may face opposition from drug policy reform advocates, such as restricting local funds for syringe exchange programs.

Broader Political Context In D.C.'s Cannabis And VA Amendment

Senate Democrats have shown interest in advancing their version of the cannabis banking bill, though the timeline remains uncertain. The D.C. Council has navigated federal restrictions by allowing self-certification for medical cannabis patients, but the lack of a regulated market has been a persistent challenge.

This development follows President Biden's budget proposal earlier this year, which continued to block D.C. from regulating recreational cannabis sales, despite publicly advocating for cannabis rescheduling and pardons amid the presidential election race.

Additionally, the House passed a bipartisan amendment in the Veterans Affairs spending package, allowing VA doctors to recommend medical cannabis to veterans. This amendment aims to provide veterans with alternative treatments for various medical conditions and marks a significant policy shift and it ends the VA’s prohibition on assisting veterans with accessing medical cannabis

Read also: FDA Panel Rejects MDMA Therapy For PTSD, Citing Concerns Over Research Data In Setback For Advocates

Photo: Benzinga Edit: Sources: Kindel Media and 12019 by Pixabay.

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsAndy Harriscannabis salesD.C. cannabisD.C. cannabis riderD.C. Cannabis salesDave JoyceFSGGHouse Appropriations Financial Services and General Government SubcommitteeJoe Bidenmedical cannabissyringe exchange programsWashington D.C. Cannabis
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