A Republican senator is calling on the banking industry to step up for a marijuana banking bill, the Oklahoma Senate moves to tighten up rules around medical marijuana grows, and more.
GOP Marijuana Banking Bill Sponsors Calls on Bankers to "Unleash An Army" of Lobbyists to Get It Passed. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), the lead Republican sponsor of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, used a speech at the American Bankers Association Washington Summit Tuesday to call on the industry to "unleash an army" of lobbyists to push the bill through Congress. He said there "a chance" the bill could pass by going through the committee process. "This bill has been out there a long time," he said. "I think with each passing year, there’s a greater number of people who understand that the problem—forcing businesses to operate in all cash—is only getting worse. We need to be very clear: this is a public safety bill, and the longer we go without addressing this issue, the worse the situation on the ground becomes." He told the bankers he is "very thankful" for their support, adding that "we could unleash an army of you all in this room on Capitol Hill" to advocate for the passage of the cannabis banking bill.
Oklahoma Senate Approves Bill Targeting Illegal Medical Marijuana Grows. The Senate on Tuesday voted 41-1 to approve Senate Bill 806, which seeks to crack down on illicit marijuana grows by limiting how many marijuana business licenses could use the same address for their applications. "Those who regulate our medical marijuana industry are running into problems when they raid a facility only to learn that there are numerous licensees who utilize that one address and all have product stored there," the bill’s author, Sen. Brent Howard, (R-Altus) said. "This makes it nearly impossible for law enforcement to know what product is actually illegal and to properly investigate the case. This measure would limit the number of licenses that can be listed under one address to help improve regulation and shut down illegal business activity." The bill was requested by , the and the Attorney General’s Office. The bill now heads to the House.
Blinken Says Cartels Control Parts of Mexico. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday and was asked by ranking member Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) whether there are places in Mexico the government does not control, and he answered in the affirmative. "I think that's fair to say, yes," he replied. He also agreed with Graham "that fentanyl coming from Mexico is killing Americans by the tens of thousands." Graham also asked if the cartels should be declared foreign terrorist organizations. A House bill to do that has been filed, while a Senate bill has been threatened. "Yes we’d certainly consider that," Blinken replied. The exchange came after Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador largely blamed the United States for its drug problems and denied that Mexico was a source of fentanyl.
. Two Mexican soldiers and five gunmen from La Familia Michoacana were killed when a military unit was ambushed in the state of Guerrero last Friday. The military unit "was the target of an attack by approximately 18 armed civilians aboard two vehicles," the Mexican military said. The attack came in the mountain town of El Pescado, which has seen frequent clashes between cartel members and the authorities. La Familia Michoacana, once powerful, had been decimated by the arrest or killing of its leaders, but has been trying to stage a comeback. It is currently locked in combat with the Los Tequileros gang for control of the area.