During a visit to southern California, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) met with cannabiz executives and toured at least one cannabis related business. McConnell opposes legalization but was the force behind federal hemp legalization in last years farm bill, a potential boon for farmers in his home state of Kentucky.
- The industry was happy to welcome him. The key issue right now is banking: After the House passed the SAFE Banking Act last month. Should the bill pass the Senate banking committee, chaired by Idaho’s Mike Crapo (R), it will need McConnell’s support to pass the Senate.
- What the solid Politico article doesn’t quite get, and McConnell almost certainly does, is that the cannabis industry and the GOP are natural allies.
- In light of the vape crisis, former FDA chair Dr. Scott Gottlieb essentially called for descheduling cannabis in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
- There’s also still a lot of legalization opponents in the Republican base tweeted conservative pundit Laura Ingrahm. She warned industry money would support Democrats. Perhaps, she’ll reassess when she realizes it could help Republicans.
- NORML rates Crapo a D, but he has expressed support for some kind of banking bill.
- McConnell has not expressed support for such a bill, but the banking issue also affects his hemp farmers, which may make him more sympathetic.
Marijuana Moment has the scoop from inside one of McConnell’s fundraisers meetings.
- McConnell mostly listened. He called marijuana a “complicated issue” and while he didn’t make any commitments, he seemed to grasp the industry’s frustration around banking.
- “We put our best face forward,” a meeting attendee said. “We were strategic by not forcing him into a corner” by pressing him.
- This section was a little more political than WeedWeek usually gets. But as I’ve said here, here, here and here, the industry is at its least attractive when it’s kissing Republicans’ asses.