A cannabis-based bill passed the House of Representatives last week but it may be no more than a symbolic victory.
The House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019 (MORE Act) last Friday. The bill will legalize cannabis at a national level by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act. Essentially the bill will solve several issues with the cannabis industry including banking and tax complications, eliminate minor cannabis offenses, and allow for more research and trials on the production side of the industry.
However, the U.S. Senate will likely kill the MORE Act when it comes up for a vote. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has openly refuted any such bill. Many analysts believe the bill will fail miserably in the Senate.
Some agricultural leaders are mildly supporting the move. The bill would not force states to legalize cannabis, but for states that have already cleared the way, the federal law is the only roadblock remaining. Florida Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried issued a statement in support of the passage noting the racial injustices related to the federal law. Fried said, “This vote marks the monumental progress our country continues to make as states – and now the U.S. House of Representatives – recognize the urgent need to end the federal government’s misguided cannabis prohibition, and begin to right the wrongs of the War on Drugs and its damage to communities of color. I applaud the leadership of cannabis’ congressional champions and the diverse group of organizations whose tireless work made this historic legislation and vote happen. I am hopeful that this long-overdue measure will be prioritized in the 117th Congress, on behalf of the countless families whose lives were upended by the War on Drugs, patients who need safe and secure access to medical marijuana, and the diverse array of entrepreneurs seeking the economic potential of this growing industry, including hemp farmers.”