This week, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on a historic bill that would federally de-schedule cannabis. Sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act would remove cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, expunge the criminal records of people with prior marijuana convictions and impose a 5% sales tax on the substance; that tax revenue will be reinvested into the communities most significantly impacted by the “war on drugs.”
Not only will the bill decriminalize cannabis, but it could very well reverse the policy gap that currently exists between the federal government and states that allow cannabis. This is according to a new Congressional Research Service Report (CRS) providing a comprehensive analysis of the MORE Act and its potential implications if passed. At the moment, the report says, the federal government and states are at odds, with the government prohibiting cannabis while several states legalize medical or recreational use.
If the MORE Act is passed, certain states may end up having more regressive cannabis policies than the federal government. For instance, the historic bill doesn’t require states to stop criminalizing marijuana, so we may see a future where certain states penalize their residents for marijuana-related offenses even though federal policy is in favor of cannabis. Additionally, the new CRS states that pro-cannabis federal policy will only highlight the patchwork of varying cannabis laws across the states.
According to the CRS report, Congress could be fine with the states dealing with marijuana differently or it may prefer a more uniform approach toward cannabis across the board. However, Congress is limited in its ability to affect state law regarding cannabis, even if it creates a uniform federal cannabis policy. Still, the government body is not without options, with the report stating that lawmakers could opt to preempt state law via the commerce clause or leverage the federal government’s spending power to encourage certain states to change their cannabis laws.
In fact, the MORE Act includes provisions that would offer incentives for states to adopt some specific local reform policies. States that stop penalizing people who are on parole for cannabis-related offenses as well as expunge the records of those with cannabis convictions may be eligible for federal funding.
If the House, which is controlled by Democrats, passes the bill, the act will still have to make it through the Republican-controlled Senate. Additionally, it is not yet clear how President-elect Joe Biden, who supports decriminalization but not broad legalization, will move forward with cannabis reform.
In states or jurisdictions with legal marijuana programs, lots of companies have thrived. For example, Pure Extracts Technologies Corp. (CSE: PULL) has excelled at extracting plant, especially cannabis, compounds in the Canadian marijuana industry.
CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.
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