Cannabis News of Note for the Week:
WSJ Editorial Board: Chuck Schumer’s Marijuana Defense Bill (paywalled, full text below)
Cannabis Reports of Note for the Week:
Chuck Schumer’s Marijuana Defense Bill
The Democratic leader is holding up a military bill to do a favor for the pot lobby.
Dec. 6, 2022 6:40 pm ET
Legislation that ends up adorned with unrelated giveaways is known in Congress as a Christmas tree. Behold the spectacle as Democrats in the festive spirit try to hang everything from marijuana financing to antitrust policy on the annual defense policy bill.
The national defense authorization for 2023 is expected to add $45 billion to President Biden’s request for the Pentagon, and the outline has been known for months. One priority is more arms for Ukraine and backfilling U.S. weapons stocks that are being depleted. Another is a 4.6% pay raise for military members, which is only half the rate of inflation but will be helpful as the force struggles to recruit. There’s money for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative and more.
Americans watching the war in Europe might think building up national defense is an urgent task. But they have underestimated the political cynicism of Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, who is trying to load ideas he couldn’t pass by themselves, or could have tried to pass earlier in the year, onto the defense bill.
Among the heavy, unnecessary baggage: a bill that would make it easier for banks to do business with marijuana outfits. Democrats have also been threatening to attach a bill that purports to reform permitting for new infrastructure projects, to buy back the good graces of Sen. Joe Manchin. Another potential ride-along is Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s antitrust exemption for newspapers to negotiate with tech companies.
These “miscellaneous pet priorities,” as GOP Leader Mitch McConnell described them on the Senate floor Tuesday, have nothing to do with military spending. Mr. McConnell also noted that the defense authorization could have been done months ago. In 2017 the Senate wrapped up the bill by Thanksgiving, and in 2018 the work was finished by early August.
The obvious answer is to pass the defense policy bill without Mr. Schumer’s legislative favors to his party’s campaign donors. If Mr. Schumer thinks easier financing for New York skunk-weed businesses is a pressing national priority, then he can set aside some of the Senate’s time to debate the merits and vote on it. But take care of defense now.