The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Matt Sutton, 

Congress Must Prioritize Comprehensive Marijuana Reform Over Quick Fix that Prioritizes Big Cannabis Businesses at the Expense of People Who Have Been Harmed by Prohibition

Statement from DPA Executive Director Kassandra Frederique in Response to Attempts to Move SAFE Banking Bill in NDAA


In response to news that Congress could attempt to move the SAFE Banking Act (H.R.1996) through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), instead of prioritizing comprehensive marijuana reform, Kassandra Frederique, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance released the following statement:

"Marijuana criminalization means nearly every minute someone is arrested for marijuana and it serves as the pretext for horrific interactions with law enforcement, like the death of Philando Castile. While we agree cannabis businesses, like any other businesses, need access to banking services--and in fact, the DPA--supported MORE Act would fully resolve the marijuana banking issue--we cannot do so at the expense of equity and justice for Black, Latinx and Indigenous communities that have borne the brunt of prohibition. And we cannot prioritize banking services while cannabis continues to be used as justification for police violence against these communities. By slipping SAFE into the Defense Authorization bill ahead of moving the MORE Act, Congress is sending a clear message that the industry and huge multi-state operators take precedent before the countless people that have had their lives devastated by punitive and racially-motivated drug policies. We can and must move comprehensive marijuana reform--centered in equity, justice and community reinvestment--first and foremost. Then, and only then, can we talk about banking inconvenience."

The Drug Policy Alliance is the nation's leading organization promoting drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.

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