In 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives approved historic legislation that would decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. This was the first time in five decades that either chamber of the United States Congress has held an official floor vote on the legal status of cannabis. What will this mean for the future of the cannabis industry? Continue reading this blog to find out.
Also, check out the other entries in Scythian’s “2020 in Review” blog series: Part 1 on states legalizing cannabis in 2020 and Part 2 on cannabis industry success during COVID-19.
Congress Votes in Favor of MORE Act to Allow States to Legalize Cannabis
On December 4, 2020, the United States House of Representatives voted in favor of the MORE Act (also known as the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act). If the MORE Act were to become law, it would allow individual states to determine their own policies regarding the legal status of cannabis – without any interference by the federal government. This would be an important development in cannabis law because federal law currently prohibits the sale and/or possession of cannabis, a legal status that runs counter to the adult-use cannabis laws and medical marijuana laws in several states.
In addition to legalizing cannabis at the federal level, the MORE Act would also establish a federal sales tax for cannabis. As set forth by the federal statute, the revenues generated by the marijuana sales tax would be used to fund a number of restorative justice programs intended to undo some of the harm caused by previous policies and laws that criminalized marijuana possession and that, in many cases, disproportionately harmed members of low-income and minority communities.
Democrat-Controlled Senate Could Lead to Cannabis Decriminalization in United States
The vote on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act in the U.S. House of Representatives went largely along party lines, with all but five of the votes cast in favor of the cannabis decriminalization legislation coming from Democrats. The final vote tally was 228 in favor of the proposed law and 164 against the proposed law.
The positive outcome for the bill was a predictable result of the Democrats holding a majority in the U.S. House. The bill’s ultimate outcome would be determined by the U.S. Senate, which until recently was controlled by Republicans. After the legislation initially passed in the House, however, the composition of the Senate changed: a special runoff election in Georgia on January 5, 2021 saw the Democrats flip two seats in the Senate. Now the MORE Act could have a legitimate chance of being approved by the Senate and becoming the law of the land.
U.S. Congress Approves Law to Study Medical Applications of Marijuana
The United States Congress passed another important cannabis bill in 2020: both the House and the Senate approved legislation that would grant researchers greater access to cannabis and allow them to study the potential medical uses and applications of marijuana. The medical marijuana research bill is viewed by supporters as a critical step in the creation of better and more targeted federal drug policy.
Additionally, it is worth noting that the medical marijuana research law received overwhelming bipartisan support from both Republicans and Democrats. This suggests that there could be room for greater support for federal cannabis legalization efforts in the future. During a House floor debate on the legislation, Rep. Greg Walden from Oregon said that more data on “the actual health impacts of [cannabis] products” in states where those products are currently legal will help to fill an “information vacuum” surrounding the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana.
Contact Scythian Cannabis Real Estate Today
Scythian Real Estate is a privately held cannabis real estate fund that provides financing and other assistance to sophisticated cannabis operators throughout the U.S. If you are a cannabis operator interested in raising capital, Scythian Real Estate may be able to help you. Send us an email for additional information.
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