U.S. states have been embracing the cannabis business for years and the Federal government might finally follow suite. Already by June of this year, five U.S. states have legalized recreational cannabis. Mexico has taken a big step towards legalization, setting itself up to become the largest legal cannabis market in the world. Two pieces of U.S. federal legislation have been revived: the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (the “MORE Act”) and the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (“SAFE Banking Act”).
The “MORE Act”
If passed, the MORE Act would deschedule cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, which places all federally regulated substances into one of five schedules, and enact various criminal and social justice reforms. That includes expungement of prior marijuana convictions. In July 2019, the MORE Act passed in the House, but died in committee. The bill was reintroduced by House Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) on May 28, 2021 with some changes. Including eliminating prohibitions limiting participation of individuals with prior criminal marijuana convictions in legal cannabis businesses. The MORE Act of 2021 has yet to be scheduled for a vote. Social justice advocacy groups, such as the ACLU and the NAACP, are actively urging congressional leaders to hold a vote on the MORE Act of 2021 in the House by the end of the month.
The “SAFE Banking Act”
The SAFE Banking Act, if passed, would provide a safe harbor for banking institutions providing services to cannabis clients. The SAFE Banking Act passed in the House in 2019, but like the MORE Act, it also died in the committee. The SAFE Banking Act of 2021 was reintroduced in March and passed quickly in the House. It was introduced in the Senate on March 23, 2021, where it remains. If passed, the bills move onto the President who ultimately decides if the bill becomes law. How do you feel about decriminalizing cannabis at a Federal level? Of course, we’re all for it!