A historic vote of more than two to one on House Bill 3884, The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, passed it through the United States House Judiciary Committee. The vote held on Wednesday by the House Judiciary Committee marked the first time that a body of Congress voted on legislation that would bring the end of cannabis prohibition on a federal level. Federal legalization of cannabis is important to the cannabis sector as cannabis business still face clashes with federal regulations even if they reside in a legal cannabis state. Stocks within the cannabis sector were mainly higher after the news of the passed MORE Act circulated throughout media outlets.
The MORE Act is also considered to be one of the most thorough and comprehensive cannabis reform bills to be introduced in Congress. Several segments to the main body of the bill include language to create programs for small business loans to those in areas harmed by cannabis prohibition and to create a Cannabis Justice Office within the Department of Justice. The Cannabis Justice Office will be responsible to conduct record expungement for those with past cannabis convictions. Other programs included within the MORE Act include job training programs and legal aid for those affected by cannabis prohibition.
Cannabis businesses will benefit greatly from the end of federal cannabis prohibition as they would gain full access to banking services. As of right now, cannabis businesses are restricted to a strictly cash operation as federally regulated banks cannot provide full banking access. Routine operations for businesses such as credit and loans aren’t provided to cannabis businesses either due to the clash between legal cannabis laws at a state level and the illegal nature of cannabis at banks within those legal states due to the federal laws that govern them. Removal of cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) would effectively remove all restrictions that banks have in place on cannabis businesses, due to the federal law, and allow for the cannabis industry to expand at an even more rapid rate.
Jerrold Nadler, House Judiciary Committee Chairman, stated: “States have led the way and continue to lead the way, but our federal laws have not kept pace with the obvious need for change. We need to catch up because of public support [in favor of legalizing marijuana] and because it is the right thing to do.”
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