Movers and SHAKERS
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How a Marijuana Bill Becomes a Law – What’s in the MORE Act
The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act took a significant procedural step forward. The MORE Act was taken up by the House Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jerry Nadler from NY. Nadler is expected to be presiding over a full Committee markup of the bill on September 30.
What’s a Markup of a Bill?
A committee markup is the key formal step a committee ultimately takes for the bill to advance to the House floor. The committee chair chooses the proposal that will be placed before the committee for markup. At the public meeting, members of the committee consider improvements or changes to the proposal by offering and voting on adding amendments.
When the committee agrees, by majority vote, to report the bill to the chamber, the markup process ends. Committees rarely hold a markup unless the proposal in question is expected to receive majority support when voted on.
What’s in MORE
The overriding goal of the MORE Act is to federally deschedule cannabis (federal criminal status) and expunge the records of those with previous marijuana convictions. However, it is comprehensive and seeks to also accomplish the following:
- Impose a 5% tax on cannabis products and require revenues to be deposited into a trust fund.
- Provide the path to remove low-level, federal marijuana convictions, and incentivize states and local governments to follow.
- Create paths of opportunity for business participation in an emerging less regulated cannabis industry. Provide entrepreneurs opportunities previously unavailable by prohibition through the Small Business Administration grant eligibility.
- Allow veterans, for the first time, to obtain medical cannabis recommendations from their VA doctors in states that have an established medical cannabis program.
- Protect and respect the basic rights and civil liberties of cannabis consumers under federal law when it comes to public benefits.
- Remove the threat of deportation for immigrants accused of minor marijuana infractions or who are gainfully employed in a state-legal cannabis industry.
- Provide critical reinvestment grant opportunities for communities that have suffered disproportionate rates of marijuana-related enforcement actions.
- Require the Bureau of Labor Statistics to regularly publish demographic data on cannabis business owners and employees.
Despite many competing priorities, Marijuana legalization seems to have regained its impetus on Capitol Hill. The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act may be the beginning of what cannabis investors in all areas of this broad category have been waiting for. Federal laws have been an anchor on growth.
More on MORE
Yesterday’s markup comes one week after the House voted in favor of a Pentagon budget appropriations bill that includes an amendment that would shield banks that service state-legal marijuana businesses from being penalized by federal regulators.
Only ten years ago, zero states allowed marijuana for recreational use. Currently, 18 states and Washington, DC, have legalized recreational marijuana. Medical cannabis use is now permitted in 36 states and four territories. In the 2020 general election, marijuana legalization appeared on the ballot in conservative-leaning states: Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Legalization won in three of them, losing only in North Dakota. In recent years cannabinoid products (CBD) can be found on store shelves in supermarkets in many states. In a country divided into economic, philosophical, and ideological groups, the full legalization of marijuana enjoys support across many lines. Two-thirds of Americans currently favor legalization (83% of Democrats, 72% of Independents, and 48% of Republicans).
The mainstreaming of marijuana, both medical and recreational, has accelerating momentum. It impacts business interests from agriculture to medicine, real estate, retail and online sales, etc. For those reasons, investors pay close attention to the current movement on the federal legalization front, but on a more micro level, they assess which sectors of the news industry will be impacted the most.
Marijuana-related businesses are in their infancy and seem to be headed for a growth spurt. Channelchek helps investors dig through the numbers, news, and strengths of many small and microcap businesses. We provide research on a growing list in the arena. If you don’t find your ticker available at Channelchek Company Data contact us, we’ll work to add it. Also, register to get regular updates on this and other potentially high-growth sectors.
Managing Editor, Channelchek
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