On Friday, December 4, 2020, the US House of Representatives passed the 2019 Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (the “MORE act”) That would effectively legalize cannabis by removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. The invoice (HR 3884) consists of several key components.
- Most importantly, the bill would remove cannabis from the controlled substances list in the Controlled Substances Act, as well as other federal laws such as the National Forest System Drug Control Act of 1986. This would effectively remove many of the federally created barriers to cannabis illegality like lack of access to banking, tax ramifications like 280E, adverse effects on immigration, and federal law enforcement threats.
- Second, the bill not only precludes future prosecution for marijuana-related crimes, but is also retrospective and would provide for the eradication of past non-violent marijuana crimes.
- The bill creates a mandatory excise tax on marijuana and marijuana products. The funds raised from taxes would flow into opportunity and reinvestment programs.
- A Community Reinvestment Grant program would be established aimed at providing services to “those hardest hit by the war on drugs,” such as: B. Vocational training, education, literacy programs, mentoring, and substance use treatment programs.
- A Cannabis Opportunity Program would be established to provide government funding for small business loans in the cannabis industry aimed at social justice candidates. and
- An Equitable Licensing Grant program that provides funds for states to implement equitable cannabis licensing programs to “minimize barriers to cannabis licensing and employment for those hardest hit by the war on drugs.”
- The bill would require all cannabis producers to get federal approval. Cannabis companies would need to be licensed at the state, local and federal levels to operate.
This MORE bill is an essential step in cannabis legislation. The reactions to the proposed legislation have been mixed. While the bill includes some social justice measures, critics of the bill claim that it does not go far enough. While the bill contains a federal licensing requirement, it would be the start of an emerging federal regulatory system.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOUR COMPANY?
While this bill was passed in the US House of Representatives, it would still have to be passed in the US Senate during this term, which most reports do not seem likely. However, the adoption of this draft law shows the progress made and what further legislation could look like.