“In short, the sky is not falling in Colorado.”
That is how Republican Sen. Cory Gardner summed up his testimony to the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday morning, where he was advocating legislative action to give legal marijuana businesses access to banks and protection for banks from being viewed as money launderers under federal law for handling their money.
Gardner and Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley appeared at the witness table on a day that lawmakers from both parties were highlighting cannabis legislation, an issue that is only going to have more and more resonance going into 2020.
Gardner, who faces a potentially tough reelection in 2020, said it was high time “the federal government wakes up to the reality that the cannabis issue is not going to go away, and we must have action.”
He had been an opponent of the effort to legalize marijuana in Colorado, but with state voters having spoken through a referendum, he has since worked to build regulatory structures, including access to banks. His home-state colleague, Democrat Michael Bennet, is a 2020 presidential contender and has worked with Gardner on normalizing the issue as well.