(CNSNews.com) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) countered a reporter's statement that the HEROES Act included elements that were “not directly related to COVID”--such as a provision allowing banks to do business with marijuana retailers--by stating that “cannabis…is a therapy that has proven successful” in dealing with COVID-19.
“Republicans and the administration got a lot of heat when they released their bill because there was a lot of unrelated things in there, including money for the FBI building, money for the defense, to replenish the wall,” the reporter said to Pelosi.
“There’s some things in your bill that’s not directly related to COVID, like they’re talking about cannabis or the SALT [state and local tax] reduction,” the reporter continued. “Are those things that you’re willing to also strip out of the bill?”
“Well, I don’t agree with you that cannabis is not related to this. This is a therapy that has proven successful,” Pelosi responded.
“And it is by no means of the caliber of money or misrepresentation that remodeling the federal building is for over a billion dollars, so that another hotel doesn’t come in there and compete with the president’s hotel,” Pelosi continued. “That’s what that’s all about. That has nothing to do with cannab—with the coronavirus.
“So, we’re going to have to come to some compromise on the legislation, I just don’t accept that there’s any equivalence in what you put forth there,” Pelosi said.
The 1,854-page HEROES Act, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will add $3.4 trillion to the federal deficit, includes a 26-section dedicated to the cannabis issue.
It is entitled: “Safe Banking.”
“The purpose of this section is to increase public safety by ensuring access to financial services to cannabis-related legitimate businesses and service providers and reducing the amount of cash as such businesses,” says this part of the bill.
“The term ‘cannabis,’” this COVID-19 relief bill goes on to say, “has the meaning give the term ‘marihuana’ in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802).”
“The term ‘cannabis product’ means any article which contains cannabis, including an article which is a concentrate, an edible, a tincture, a cannabis-infused product, or a topical,” says the HEROES Act.
“The term ‘cannabis-related legitimate business’ means a manufacturer, producer, or any person or company that—(A) engages in any activity described in subparagraph (B) pursuant to a law established by a State or a political subdivision of a State…and (B) participates in any business or organized activity that involves handling cannabis or cannabis products, including cultivating, producing, manufacturing, selling, transporting, displaying, dispensing, distributing, or purchasing cannabis or cannabis products.”
“The term ‘manufacturer,’” this COVID-19-relief bill says, “means a person who manufactures, compounds, processes, prepares, or packages cannabis or cannabis products.”
“The term ‘producer,’” it says, “means a person who plants, cultivates, harvest, or in any way facilitates the natural growth of cannabis.”
On May 18, The Independent, a newspaper based in the United Kingdom, published a story under this headline: “Cannabis extract may help to prevent coronavirus, preliminary study suggest; CBD ‘may become a useful and safe addition to the treatment of COVID-19 as an adjunct therapy.”
The story said:
“Canadian researchers are studying the potential for marijuana to be used to prevent coronavirus infections.
“Researchers at the University of Lethbridge in Calgary are studying more than 400 strains of cannabis and have determined that at least a dozen may offer potential as part of treatments to prevent coronavirus from infecting a host.
“According to researchers, the effective strain have, in some instances, managed to reduce virus receptors, which reduces the chance for an individual to catch coronavirus.”
On July 18, CBS News published a story under this headline: "Researchers look into cannabis as a potential COVID-19 treatment."
“As new daily coronavirus infections continue to break records in the U.S., researchers are considering whether the cannabis plant has the potential to be used in the treatment of COVID-19.
“Experts from the University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute are recommending that scientists study the anti-inflammatory properties in CBD as a potential treatment for lung inflammation caused by the coronavirus.
“There is no scientific evidence that cannabis or its compounds can help with COVID-19 specifically, but in a peer-reviewed article in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, the authors said further research is needed to understand if CBD can help patients infected by the virus.”
When Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, the state that includes Pelosi’s congressional district, issued a COVID-19 stay at home order in March, cannabis dispensaries were one of the “essential” businesses exempted from this order.
Here is a transcript of House Speaker Pelosi’s exchange with a reporter about COVID-19 and cannabis:
Nancy Pelosi: “Yes, ma’am.”
Reporter: “Republicans and the administration got a lot of heat when they released their bill because there was a lot of unrelated things in there, including money for the FBI building, money for the defense, to replenish the wall. There’s some things in your bill that’s not directly related to COVID, like they’re talking about cannabis or the SALT reduction. Are those things that you’re willing to also strip out of the bill?”
Pelosi: “Well, I don’t agree with you that cannabis is not related to this. This is a therapy that has proven successful. And it is by no means of the caliber of money or misrepresentation that remodeling the federal building is for over a billion dollars, so that another hotel doesn’t come in there and compete with the president’s hotel. That’s what that’s all about. That has nothing to do with cannab—with the coronavirus.
“So, we’re going to have to come to some compromise on the legislation, I just don’t accept that there’s any equivalence in what you put forth there. And they have—So, we’ll see, we’ll see what they come back with today. But do not accept any thought in their mind that they want to continue the 600. They distrust, they distrust American workers. They are condescending and disrespectful of the needs of America’s working families. Why else would they not have had food in their proposal. Food. Children are hungry. Families are in food banks that they never went—to go to food banks that they never thought they would ever go to.
“But let’s just calm this. Let’s be prayerful. Let’s turn the page on. Let’s say that the path they have taken us down with their delay, their denial and their distortions have caused death—speaking alliteratively—have caused deaths unnecessarily. Let’s say that we should, all of us, concede that scientists should be making the decisions about how we stop the spread of the disease and not quacks that the president seems to tweet about.
“And, again, after all is said and done we will have an after-action review. Right now, we need them to recognize the gravity of the situation.”