House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said provisions aiding the marijuana industry should remain in a $3 trillion coronavirus relief package despite criticism that the provisions have nothing to do with the pandemic.
“I don’t agree with you that cannabis is not related to this,” the California Democrat told reporters. “This is a therapy that has proven successful.”
Pelosi defended the cannabis provisions after bipartisan talks fell apart on passing a compromise coronavirus aid bill that would also extend expiring unemployment benefits. The two parties have traded barbs about unrelated spending provisions in their dueling proposals.
Pelosi and Democrats have railed against a provision in the $1 trillion GOP coronavirus aid package that would provide $1.75 billion to rebuild the crumbling FBI building in Washington, D.C.
Democrats claim President Trump insisted on the provision to ensure the FBI building is constructed near the Trump Hotel so that another hotel cannot be built on the site, which would steer away business.
“That’s what that is all about,” Pelosi said, attacking the FBI construction money. “That has nothing to do with the coronavirus.”
But she suggested the cannabis provisions in the House bill could be open for negotiations, even though she does not compare it to the FBI building funding in the GOP measure.
“We’re going to have to come to some compromise on the legislation,” Pelosi said.
The House-passed relief package would allow banks to service marijuana businesses in states in which the sale of the drug is legal, even though it remains prohibited under federal law. It also includes millions of dollars to study diversity in the marijuana industry.
Republicans have criticized the bill for including the word “cannabis” in the bill text “more than ‘jobs’ or ‘hire.’”
Published: July 31, 2020