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GOP Congresswoman Says Passing Marijuana Banking Bill Would Help Republicans Keep House Majority

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) says that “if Republicans want to keep the House,” they should pass a marijuana banking bill, arguing that “there are votes” to approve it. She also said it’s “mind-boggling” that Virginia’s GOP governor recently vetoed a bill to legalize cannabis sales given the issues’s broad bipartisan popularity.

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In an interview on The Dales Report’s “Trade To Black” podcast on Wednesday, the pro-legalization congresswoman weighed in on a wide range of marijuana policy issues, including her support for the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act and her opinion that a separate bipartisan proposal she’s cosponsoring to prevent security clearance denials over past cannabis use will likely not receive floor consideration this session.

On the marijuana banking legislation, which is pending action in the Senate after clearing committee last September, Mace said, “I support SAFE 100 percent,” and “I would love to see [Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)] move it forward.”

The question, however, is whether House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), a consistent opponent of cannabis reform, will agree to hold a vote to advance it, she said.

“I can tell you that Republicans that represent purple districts overwhelmingly support SAFE—and then some,” Mace said. “So if Republicans want to keep the House, it’s a good bill to have on the floor. Conservatives can vote no all day long. The rest of us can vote for our districts, which would be to support SAFE, and there are votes in the House to pass SAFE.”

“It’s just a matter of what the leadership will allow to the floor. I overwhelmingly support it, as do a number of of Republicans that represent purple swing-ish districts like ours,” she said.

Despite her support for the cannabis banking legislation, however, Mace has not added her name to the list of cosponsors on the current version of the House measure.

At the same time that the congresswoman is suggesting that House Republicans could help maintain their majority with a SAFE Banking Act vote, she’s also criticizing Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) for vetoing bipartisan legislation last week that would have legalized cannabis sales for adults in the state.

“I don’t understand the method behind the madness here, because this is what the people want do it in a responsible manner that protects our children,” she said. “It’s mind-boggling to me that that’s what would happen. The math doesn’t add up for me.”

Mace also weighed in on another recent controversial development: new guidance from a GOP policy committee she sits on that specifically urges members to oppose the SAFE Banking Act and the Cannabis Users’ Restoration of Eligibility (CURE) Act she’s sponsoring on marijuana-related security clearance denials.

“I just, I don’t understand. We don’t need it. We need to move forward, not backwards,” she said of the GOP leadership’s opposition to cannabis reform. “We need to go with where the country is.”

The CURE Act passed the House Oversight Committee in a 30-14 vote last September, with 10 Republicans joining Democrats to advance it. Mace said “there’s no reason for us to discriminate against workers at all.”

However, despite the committee passage and bipartisan support, the congresswoman said in response to a question submitted by Marijuana Moment that she doesn’t expect Johnson to bring it to the floor, stating that “it’s just sitting in a drawer somewhere.”

“It’d be great if it came to the floor, but again, I don’t understand the controversy,” Mace said.

The congresswoman, who has been candid about her use of medical cannabis to treat symptoms of trauma after being sexually assaulted as a teen, also briefly described using cannabis-infused gummies “for a very short period of time in a state where it was legal” to treat pain associated with a car accident she was involved in. She said she went with the alternative treatment option to avoid taking opioids, given a family history of addiction.

Mace was also critical of Democrats, who she said have “had every opportunity to” legalize marijuana but haven’t done so yet. In reality, House Democrats have passed legalization legislation twice in recent sessions when their party controlled the chamber, but a key obstacle has been moving the measure through the Senate with the steep 60-vote threshold that would have required GOP buy-in.

In any case, the congresswoman views her States Reform Act to legalize cannabis as the ideal vehicle for reform. But the current version only has five cosponsors.

She was critical of other marijuana reform advocates in Congress who have not signed on to the legislation, including members of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus who she did not name.

“We even have people who are pretending to be cannabis people—people in the Cannabis Caucus or whatever—that don’t support the States Reform Act, haven’t signed on to that bill, have tried to prevent it from getting any recognition or votes,” she said. “So there are even forces within our party or both parties that just work against each other even though, supposedly, we all support cannabis.”

The congresswoman also spoke about efforts to enact medical cannabis legislation in her home state of South Carolina, saying that “hopefully this will be the year that it happens.”


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