NEWS BRIEF

Full US House poised to vote on cannabis descheduling in September

The full US House is expected to vote next month on a sweeping reform bill that would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, in what would be a historic development for the industry.

House Democratic leadership is preparing for a vote on the social justice-focused Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019, according to media reports Friday.

The measure, if enacted into law, would open up enormous business opportunities for legal marijuana nationwide, similar to the federal legalization of hemp.

The US House Judiciary Committee approved the measure last November.

But even if the measure passes the Democratic-controlled House, the Republican-controlled Senate is seen as too high of a barrier before the elections.

MORE could come into play in the Senate next year, if it flips to Democrats.

The platform at the recent Democratic National Convention was much less ambitious, supporting only rescheduling and medical cannabis legalization.

But vice president nominee Kamala Harris is the lead Senate sponsor of MORE and could pull Joe Biden, if he’s elected president, in the direction of more comprehensive marijuana reform, said David Mangone, director of policy and government affairs for The Liaison Group, a Washington DC firm that lobbies for the National Cannabis Roundtable.

The current version of MORE also would:

  • Allow states to continue to choose how to regulate a commercial marijuana industry.
  • Put in place a 5% federal retail sales tax on marijuana products.
  • Target revenues to empower individuals and communities most impacted by the war on drugs.

The revenues would go for job training and small-business loans, as well as efforts to minimize barriers to marijuana licensing. Democratic lawmakers are concerned the state-legal marijuana industry is overly controlled by companies run by wealthy, white men.

While MORE is the most comprehensive marijuana bill to advance in Congress, the full US House passed cannabis banking reform last September in a strong bipartisan vote.

Senate Banking Chair Michael Crapo, an Idaho Republican, and his staff had been working on changes to the House version, known as the SAFE Banking Act. It’s uncertain whether his committee will consider his version before year-end.

SAFE would enable financial institutions to serve cannabis-related firms without fear of federal punishment.

– Jeff Smith

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3 comments on “Full US House poised to vote on cannabis descheduling in September
  1. Kevin Powell on

    You can’t just legalize it. You have to add in racially discriminatory provisions. Your country is in a nasty place right now. I hope you get healthy again soon.

    Reply
  2. Anita Burnett on

    Please come through Democrats. We need access to this healing plant. We need access to unlimited research of this plant. We all need to learn the many helpful and less harmful effects of the plant in many people while we always patiently await science and development of the cannabinoids and terpenes. We have all waited to regain access to this blessed plant. Free the plant not just de-schedule it.
    Please know that in my opinion the government has already missed the importance cannabis could be playing in this pandemic.

    Reply
  3. Melissa on

    I am a daily cannabis advocate and consumer. However I do live in a legal state I happen to live on federally controlled land which I was not aware of until March 27, 2020. I have lived in my home for more than three years and consumed what helps me live into the next day and to help me eat my food until the day my landlord said I could not do that due to the area we live in. My medical card is expired but since California is a medical and recreational state I never thought that this would be an issue. Keep in mind I never consume cannabis inside my home. Outdoors respectively away from others due to the stigma. I am originally from Texas but moved to California to help me get by with cannabis. I want to move back to my home state but it is still illegal in the State of Texas but only the City of Austin is decriminalized. It should be completely removed from the controlled substance act or make something specifically for cannabis and hemp to keep us out of the prison system and not getting fined for consuming when we need to. I cant even consume cbd on my patio without living in fear of losing my own home in a legal state.

    Reply

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