Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) says he doesn’t plan to back down from his cannabis banking bill.

Marijuana Moment reports that the congressman was interviewed at a recent American Bankers Association (ABA) event, where he said he wants to do whatever he can to get the bill passed. “I will continue to be a real pest, and persistent in getting this done,” he told ABA Executive Vice President for congressional relations and political affairs James Ballantine in front of an audience.

Perlmutter highlighted public health concerns around forcing cannabis businesses to operate with cash alone. “In one week in Oakland, California, in November, there were 25 armed robberies of cannabis dispensaries, and the same thing is happening around the country, because it’s seen as easy pickings,” he said.

The congressman said the SAFE Banking Act will also stop law enforcement agencies from targeting legally operating dispensaries for civil forfeiture.

N.Y. to Prioritize Licenses For Formerly Convicted

The state of New York says residents who were formerly convicted of cannabis crimes will be the first to be awarded adult-use cannabis retail licenses.

According to The New York Times the state will be opening its adult-use cannabis retail market by the end of 2022. State leaders say the new policy is meant to promote equity and address the harms done by cannabis prohibition. The state’s Office of Cannabis Management Executive Director Chris Alexander told reporters that the state expects to give the first 100 to 200 cannabis retail licenses to people who were convicted with a marijuana crime or those who have “a parent, guardian, child, spouse, or dependent” who was convicted of a pot crime.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said she wants to include $200 million in the state’s budget this year that will be earmarked to help small marijuana businesses find storefronts across the state.

Researchers: Ancient Chinese Ate “Cannabis Porridge”

New research confirms that cannabis played a key role in the diet of the ancient Chinese Tang dynasty (618-907).

South China Morning Post reports that a new archaeological discovery has confirmed historical reports that ancient Chinese used the plant as an important food source. The discovery was reportedly made during an excavation at an elementary school playground. Researchers found a tomb that had gone undiscovered for 1,320 years.

A jar containing cannabis remnants and seeds was discovered in the tomb. The seeds reportedly retained some of their original color and were nearly twice the size of modern marijuana seeds. The jar was located on the coffin bed of Guo Xing, a cavalry captain who had fought with Tang emperor Li Shimin, or Taixzong. It was found among jars containing other food staples.