Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said in a new interview that the federal government’s national prohibition of marijuana doesn’t make sense and that Congress must, at a minimum, pass legislation to allow cannabis businesses to access financial institutions.
In an appearance on The Federalist Radio Show that was released on Friday, the senator was asked about the growing number of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates (except Joe Biden) who support marijuana legalization. Lee started by making a quip about how legalizing cannabis would lead to “more snowboarding, higher consumption of Doritos [and] Hostess products”—but then he got serious about the issue.
“We are at a weird inflection point,” he said. “If we were starting from a blank slate, I think it would always have made more sense for a thing like marijuana to have been regulated at a state level because this is a commodity that can be grown, harvested, packaged, sold and consumed entirely intrastate. And I think it probably would have made more sense to give the states the authority at the outset to make that decision on their own.”
The senator then talked about banking issues for the marijuana industry, saying that states have seen “an increase in duffle bags with $400,000 in cash making their rounds through the communities of Denver and elsewhere in Colorado because you cannot lawfully bank or electronically transfer money that is involved in marijuana.”