VP Pence does not approve of cannabis banking protections

Published Aug 24, 2020 11:00 a.m. ET
iStock / OlegMalyshev

Is it promising for the cannabis industry when VP Mike Pence, slams the inclusion of cannabis banking language in the latest coronavirus relief bill? What is it that has Mike Pence so upset about marijuana reform today?

Who is the VP?

Let’s go back to 1990 to see who this man really is. Back then, Mike Pence was a TV talk show host. He attempted to further his talking career and lost two bids for the congressional seat but managed to run for Congress successfully in 2000. He was elected to the rank of governor of Indiana in 2012. In July of 2016, we saw him as the running partner of the, now President of the United States, Donald Trump. Nov 8, 2016, saw him elected to the position of Vice President of the United States. When Trump was sworn in as President, Mr. Mike Pence claimed the US vice president position.

VP Mike Pence’s views on cannabis are not favourable for the cannabis advocate today. Pence’s views on cannabis include it as a gateway drug, as he believes it to be dangerous, claiming it to be more hazardous than cigarettes. Is there any wonder that Mr. Mike Pence disapproves of the banking for cannabis to be included in the COVID bill? When he served in Congress, Pence noted that the American people did not want some pork-barrel bill coming out of Congress when there were so many more needs for the working families.

This is deemed as Mike Pence’s opinion. Pence was also heard saying that the bill passed, mentioned cannabis more than it mentioned jobs. However, some Republicans believe the cannabis banking provision is relevant to the COVID-19 bill.

Is he alone?

Mike Pence is not alone in his hesitance to include cannabis in the language of the COVID-19 bill. His chief of staff, Marc Short, has described the proposal as a “wish list” for the liberals that includes things that are not related to coronavirus. Short points out the irrelevance to COVID-19 when banking access for cannabis growers is included in the bill.  However, the bill's language does include the protection of financial institutions that service the many state legal business, from federal regulators penalties.

Democrats argue the point that cannabis is a proven therapy, and for that reason alone, it should be included in the banking language. The allowing of cannabis businesses, access to the banking system will help control the spread of the virus by allowing electronic banking methods, rather than exchanging cash during this trying time. The infusion of revenues into the financial system would be beneficial amid the economic downtrend that we are experiencing worldwide due to the pandemic.

Last thoughts

Can we expect anything more positive for marijuana reform when VP Mike Pence believes in zero-tolerance and punishment over treatment for marijuana reform? Perhaps the Big Tobacco donors that supported Pence and his stand on marijuana reform are also responsible for helping to put people in jail for six months when caught with a single cannabis joint. These financial donors could be the driving force that Mike Pence uses when walking the green path of marijuana reform. Cannabis banking is not where Mike Pence sees himself being instrumental for the country he represents, the United States of America.

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