There is some positive momentum over the past few days towards marijuana legalization in two states, and House Democrats are set to vote on a bill that would make it easier for marijuana companies to do business in the US.
Momentum in Pennsylvania and Iowa
On Monday in Pennsylvania, Rep. Jake Wheatley (D) filed a bill to legalize adult-use marijuana in the state. Bill HB50 would legalize adult-use cannabis and erase the criminal records of people with past marijuana convictions, while releasing people currently incarcerated for marijuana offenses that would be made legal.
Also on Monday, Iowa State Senator Joe Bolkcom announced that he plans to introduce a bill in the coming weeks to legalize recreational marijuana.
This follows an op-ed that he wrote for the Iowa City Press-Citizen on Friday, where he states:
Iowa’s continued prohibition of marijuana imposes a heavy burden on Iowa families in the form of lost jobs, legal bills, jail time, broken families, violence and crime. Why should we keep spending millions and millions each year to arrest, prosecute, jail and punish thousands of Iowans for possessing a substance less harmful than legal alcohol?
Following that statement up with:
We should replace Iowa’s criminal marijuana underground market with one that is well regulated. Estimates are that state regulation and taxation of the legal sale of marijuana will create many new businesses and 4,000-7,000 new jobs across Iowa while generating between $40-$70 million in new state and local revenue.
Democrats plan hearing on marijuana banking legislation
Zachary Warmbrodt of Politico reported Monday night that the House Financial Services Committee is planning a hearing on a marijuana banking bill soon, with potentially a vote after the hearing.
This would be a big boon to marijuana companies in the US, as many banks are hesitant to work with companies until Federal law is changed. This leads to increased safety concerns for growers and sellers in legal states as it forces them to work in all-cash, making it a prime target for robberies.
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