The Legal Cannabis Industry is growing every month across the country as more states adopt the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis.
The major hinderance on the industry in its entirety is the federal legal standing of cannabis under the Controlled Substance Act. Currently cannabis, listed as Marijuana or Marihuana is a schedule 1 Substance sharing the title with Heroine and Cocaine. All Substances on the Schedule 1 list are illegal to own, sell, or transport across state lines. Because of this business with in the cannabis industry are unable to bank with federally insured banks.
Enter the MORE Act, introduced on July 23, 2019 by Rep Jerry Nadler and presidential candidate and Senator Kamala Harris. This act is a compilation of the combined efforts of industry leaders and these two political icons who want to usher the cannabis industry into the nation’s economy. The MORE Act has five major functions that directly impact the cannabis industry, each of which tackle issues keeping this budding industry from growing into the major economic workhorse that this nation desperately needs. First and foremost, this act would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act completely making cannabis legal on a federal level. In doing so Cannabis would be reclassified away from Marijuana/Marihuana, a term which originally was coined in the 1930’s to play on the fears related to Mexican immigrants in the midst of the Refer Madness movement. Reclassifying Marijuana/Marihuana as Cannabis would unify the legal language under one overarching term for Hemp, Marijuana, and CBD. Along with reclassifying Cannabis this act would create a 5% flat federal tax on all cannabis sales as well as dictate where the proceeds of this tax would be used. Under the MORE Act all tax dollars from cannabis would be used to fund regulatory oversight and research. These tax dollars would also be used to fund expungement and resentencing procedures of businesses and individuals who have offences related to cannabis. Illinois is a great example of this common trend on the state level, they have already started preparing similar procedures to correct cannabis related legal rulings and uses of cannabis tax dollars to fund improvements to public infrastructure and schools.
The MORE Act is getting input from many parties within the industry to help refine the legal language. Justin Strekal, Political Director of the cannabis law group NORML, met with congressional members to do just that. In his interview with MERRY JANE he is quoted saying “We believe this is the first comprehensive and workable legislation that has a real shot at passing in a chamber of Congress.” Strekal proceeded to talk about the social equity programs that would improve the structural problems with businesses suffering from the federal prohibition this act aims to end. “Lack of access to bank accounts, and small businesses’ inability to receive standard tax treatments as every other sector of the economy. Those barriers would no longer be in place after we remove marijuana from the controlled substances act.” Federal cannabis legalization is the turn key solution to the cannabis industry’s major hindrances across the board. Like opening the flood gates of resources, cannabis companies would no longer be denied basic banking services from federally insured banks and the multibillion-dollar cannabis industry would have the proper means to build an economic and legislative foundation to grow and evolve from. Cannabis is a fresh tax generator and hidden boon for the U.S. economy to flourish from in a time when national debt is at an all time high. These tax dollars would be used to pay for regulatory bodies in the higher government levels and on the local level these taxes would be used to enrich communities and municipal resources much like what is already being done in Colorado. The MORE Act is the last piece to the major financial engine that is the cannabis industry.