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The MORE Act Passes The House

Attention cannabis investors: the House has passed the MORE Act. MORE is an acronym short for Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act.  The act would remove marijuana from the United States Controlled Substances Act.  

There is a caveat to this piece of good news.  The House passed the piece of legislation by a surprisingly narrow margin.  The House chamber voted 220 yays to 204 nays, taking an important step toward ending cannabis prohibition at the federal level and boosting industry social equality all the more.  

The downside to this seemingly positive development is that the House voted to pass the same legislation by a wider margin in the final month of 2020.  Rewind to December of 2020 and the vote on the MORE Act was 228 yays to 164 nays.  The narrower vote ultimately speaks to the fact that fewer members of the House are shifting toward a more lenient stance on the recreational use of cannabis.

The Fate Of The MORE Act Has Yet To Be Decided

Though the passage of the MORE Act in the House is certainly a boon to the cannabis industry, there is a sense of impending doom.  Industry experts and those who closely follow the political scene in the beltway are adamant that the MORE Act is dead on arrival in the Senate.  The comparably red Senate is highly unlikely to have enough yay votes to pass the MORE Act into law.  

However, the passage of the MORE Act in the House for a second time is still considered a minor win in the grand scheme of things.  The MORE Act is unlikely to become the law of the land as it would need support form 10 Republicans along with support form every single Senate Democrat.  At the moment, those Senate votes simply are not there.  Political science analysts believe a mere three or four conservative senators have the potential to vote in favor of the MORE Act.  In other words, cannabis legalization advocates are still six to seven votes shy of recreational legalization.  

The Good And The Bad Of The Battle For Legalization 

Making matters even worse is the fact that the Majority Leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer, is no longer as enthusiastic about the MORE Act now that he has created his own unique cannabis decriminalization legislation that will be unveiled in the months ahead.  The silver lining is there has been a gradual shift toward recreational cannabis legislation as that many more Republicans open their minds to the prospect of empowering Americans to consume the plant in accordance with their own free will.  

It is interesting to note Republicans often point to fiscal reasons when explaining why they support cannabis decriminalization.  Perhaps these conservative lawmakers can convince their fellow Republicans that reducing government overreach into citizens’ private lives combined with an influx of tax dollars is a net positive for society.  It is also worth noting Troy Nehls, a Republican lawmaker from Houston, Texas, recently added a survey to his social media pages requesting that his constituents chime in on how they feel about the potential legalization of recreational cannabis.

The Status Of Cannabis Legalization As Of April 2022

As of the spring of the current year, 37 states have legalized medicinal cannabis use.  Less than half of the states in the union legalized marijuana for recreational use.  At the moment, merely 18 states have legalized the plant for recreational and medical use.  

Though the results of the latest MORE Act are certainly a downer, there is reason for hope.  If Republicans lose seats in the upcoming midterm elections, there is a good chance that recreational cannabis will be legalized on the federal level.

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