The House of Representatives approved a large-scale spending bill last Thursday, July 29, 2021. Following this, cannabis sales in Washington, D.C. are slated to be allowed alongside measures to provide protection to banks that work with cannabis businesses.
In addition to this, Marijuana Moment states that the large-scale spending bill seeks to change existing policies in place, including those that discriminate and terminate employee contracts for individuals found using cannabis.
Moreover, the bill also urges federal government agencies to help effect changes on the current restrictive hemp regulations, as well as to allow the use of cannabidiol (CBD) in food, shares Marijuana Moment.
The provisions surrounding cannabis and drug policy clearly states that funds should not be used to punish or levy penalties on banking establishments found to be working with legal cannabis businesses.
In a statement, the legislation reads, “None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to penalize a financial institution solely because the institution provides financial services to an entity that is a manufacturer, a producer, or a person that participates in any business or organized activity that involves handling hemp, hemp-derived cannabidiol products, other hemp-derived cannabinoid products, marijuana, marijuana products, or marijuana proceeds, and engages in such activity pursuant to a law established by a State, political subdivision of a State, or Indian Tribe. In this section, the term ‘State’ means each of the several States, the District of Columbia, and any territory or possession of the United States.”
As of writing, marijuana sales are still deemed illegal in the District of Columbia. While voters have been granted the legalization of cannabis possession and cultivation in 2014, Marijuana Moment states that the local government is still largely prevented from regulating marijuana sales in the area.
The blockade on the legal sale of cannabis in D.C. reportedly stems from an amendment made by Representative Andy Harris. Despite strides in passing bills that do not ban the sale of the drug, the final copy of the legislation always included the ban and the prevention of cannabis sales under the insistence of the GOP.
On top of these, a provision within the bill looks to reform and protect employees regarding their personal cannabis use, saying “The Committee supports the updated guidance on agencies’ consideration on how an individual’s marijuana use may or may not adversely affect the integrity or efficiency of the government and impact an individual’s suitability or fitness for a position.”
The provision also maintains that the agencies in question, such as the OPM and the Suitability Executive Agent, to be more stringent in reviewing the existing policies in place when it comes to hiring and firing employees who use cannabis.
Other sections found under the cannabis and drug provisions within the massive spending and infrastructure bill include protections for universities and research centers that opt to study marijuana as well as an emphasis on the need to further research on cannabis and psychedelics.
The bill also highlighted the importance of looking into the possibility of using psychedelics to treat mental health conditions of veterans, including but not limited to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder, reports Marijuana Moment.