GOP says Democratic stimulus bill focuses more on cannabis than jobs

Republicans object to the cannabis industry receiving any support in a new stimulus bill proposal

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Cannabis usage has spiked since the coronavirus pandemic hit but Republican leaders are from far impressed with the way Democrats have embraced the industry around it.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took exception to the word cannabis appearing more times than the word jobs in the $3 trillion coronavirus bill introduced by House Democrats this week.

McConnell chastised his colleagues on the Senate floor Thursday. He blasted provisions in The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act which would protect banks that service marijuana businesses from being penalized by federal regulators as a”totally unserious effort” as it is unlikely to become law.

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Another measure of the bill required more research on minority-owned and women-owned marijuana companies. McConnell sarcastically referred to this initiative as “the cherry on top” during his speech.

“Here it is: new annual studies on diversity and inclusion within the cannabis industry. Not one study but two of them,” he said. “Let me say that again, Democrats’ proposed coronavirus bill includes taxpayer-funded studies to measure diversity and inclusion among the people who profit off of marijuana.”

McConnell went on to criticize just how many times cannabis was mentioned in the proposal.

“The word cannabis appears in the bill 68 times. More times than the word job and four times as many as the word hire,” McConnell added.

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Representative Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) said it was “suspicious” the amount of times marijuana was referenced.

“You know something is suspicious when the word ‘cannabis’ is used 68 times—more than ‘job’ or ‘jobs’ combined—in an economic stimulus bill. I’m not sure what they were smoking, but whatever socialist euphoria they’re feeling will fade fast when it arrives in the Senate,” he tweeted.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi supports the HEROES Act because “We must think big for the people now because if we don’t it will cost more in lives and livelihood later. Not acting is the most expensive course.”

The measure would also provide $500 billion for state governments and $200 billion to ensure that essential workers continue to receive pay, especially as the coronavirus pandemic continues without relief in sight.

However, McConnell and other Republicans have already promised to defeat the bill even if it passes in the House of Representatives. It will be “dead on arrival” just as The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE) designed to allow those who make money through the cannabis industry to use the banking system, was passed by the House last year but has stalled in the Senate.  SAFE was included in the relief bill as well, according to the Cannabis Business Times.   

While cannabis has been legalized in 46 states, the sale, use or possession of amounts over 0.3% remains illegal in federal law.

“What you’ve seen in the House from Nancy is not something designed to deal with reality but designed to deal with aspirations. This is not a time for aspirational legislation. This is a time for practical response to the coronavirus pandemic,” McConnell told reporters earlier this week.

Watch McConnell’s full remarks below. They begin at the 4:55 moment.

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