Calling marijuana a ‘gateway drug,’ House GOP opposes banking reform

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Congressional Republicans should oppose marijuana reform, including banking protections, because MJ is a “dangerous, addictive … gateway drug,” according to a GOP policy memo.

The memorandum recommends that Republicans vote no on cannabis banking reform as well as the CURE Act, which would prevent denial of federal security clearances for past marijuana use.

The memo was published in February but first reported Monday by Marijuana Moment.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives could be asked to consider marijuana reform bills such as the SAFER Banking Act, which passed out of Democrat-controlled Congress seven times.

If that bill does make it to the House, GOP lawmakers “should work to ensure that laws in relation to marijuana are enforced” rather than “turning a blind eye to the dangers associated with marijuana and allowing states to have dispensaries on every corner,” according to the Feb. 28 memo from the House Republican Policy Committee.

“Marijuana is a dangerous, addictive drug with no mechanism to control rouge (sic) producers from increasing potency and causing more harm,” the RPC memo concludes.

“Rather than labeling marijuana as a recreational drug, it should be labeled for what it is – a gateway drug that increases schizophrenia and impairs cognitive ability.”

Chaired by Alabama Rep. Gary Palmer, the Republican Policy Committee “produces issue backgrounders and conservative policy solutions to the House Republican Conference.”

Those policy solutions are nonbinding, and GOP lawmakers can ignore them without serious consequence.

That’s demonstrated by the pro-cannabis stances of some far-right Republicans such as Florida Rep. Greg Steube, a member of the Freedom Caucus, as well as moderates including Ohio Rep. Dave Joyce.

Joyce is the lead sponsor of HR 2891, the House version of the SAFE Banking Act, and Steube is one of 24 Republican co-sponsors.

The Feb. 28 anti-marijuana memo does not mention President Joe Biden’s October 2022 executive order that resulted in a recommendation to reschedule marijuana under federal law.

However, some conservative voices have come out against rescheduling.

Fourteen GOP lawmakers – eight senators and six representatives – have asked the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to reject rescheduling.

The DEA is still considering health regulators’ proposal to move marijuana from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3 of the Controlled Substances Act.