Republicans are not happy with the marijuana provisions included in the $3 trillion coronavirus bill introduced by House Democrats this week, calling out lawmakers for using the word cannabis more than job in the economic relief package.
"The bold new policy from Washington Democrats that will kick coronavirus to the curb and save American families from this crisis—here it is, here it is: new annual studies on diversity and inclusion within the cannabis industry," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday during a floor speech.
"The word cannabis appears in the bill 68 times. More times than the word job and four times as many as the word hire," McConnell added, arguing that the bill is a "totally unserious effort" that's unlikely to become law.
The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which will come to a vote in the House on Friday, includes a provision that would protect banks that service marijuana businesses from being penalized by federal regulators. The measure includes language requiring research on minority-owned and women-owned marijuana companies.
McConnell's gripe with the marijuana measures has been echoed by several Republican lawmakers.
Representative Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) said it's "suspicious" when more language is devoted to marijuana than jobs.
"You know something is suspicious when the word 'cannabis' is used 68 times—more than 'job' or 'jobs' combined—in an economic stimulus bill. I'm not sure what they were smoking, but whatever socialist euphoria they're feeling will fade fast when it arrives in the Senate," he tweeted.
Senator Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) tweeted that "@SpeakerPelosi's $3 trillion bill is a liberal wish list that's dead on arrival in the Senate. When your "jobs" bill mentions cannabis more than jobs, there's a problem."
Unlike the last four coronavirus relief measures, the HEROES Act isn't a product of bipartisan negotiations. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has defended the ambitious package, arguing that "we must think big for the people now, because if we don't it will cost more in lives and livelihood later. Not acting is the most expensive course."