Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, we assume you’ve heard the election news by now. Expect to see details on upcoming Biden/Harris initiatives in the next several days and weeks. That’s to be assumed, of course, but how does this specifically affect the weed industry? What could the new administration mean for cannabis?
Where does the new administration stand on pot?
It’s a little complicated. President-Elect Biden has taken the position in the past that he does not support federally legalized weed. That said, he does support decriminalizing use, and expunging records. Not exactly the most progressive stance on cannabis, but definitely a step forward.
Vice President-Elect Harris, on the other hand, has been a bit more vocal and progressive in her support. Here’s three examples of legislation she’s either sponsored or co-sponsored in the Senate:
1. Marijuana Justice Act
Senator Cory Booker co-introduced the Marijuana Justice Act, which would achieve a number of social justice milestones if it were to pass. It would remove weed from the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, ending federal criminalization, which would trickle down to the state level. It would also expunge marijuana related crimes, and allow those imprisoned for weed related offenses to petition release. Lastly, it would create a fund to invest in the communities impacted by the War on Drugs.
2. SAFE Banking Act
Senator Elizabeth Warren co-sponsored the SAFE Banking Act, which would allow banks to do business with cannabis companies without fear of violating federal laws. Should this act pass in the coming months, it would help the weed industry enormously, especially those companies that do business in several states. Keep an eye on this one, as it’s likely to move forward soon.
3. MORE Act
When Vice President-Elect Harris was senator, she was the head senate sponsor behind the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (More) Act. Spearheaded by House Majority Whip James Clyburn, this act was the first weed reform bill to receive congressional approval. The MORE Act is awaiting a floor vote, and the outcome is likely to be influenced by which direction the senate goes in after the January senate seat run offs in Georgia.
So now what?
While we shouldn’t expect to see any sweeping, widespread federal cannabis legalization any time soon, we should expect to see momentum. The reality is that legal weed is a huge money maker, which will interest you if you’re applying for a dispensary license, as weed has obviously had an incredible year. The fact that this has happened in an historic year full of tragedy is nothing short of incredible. So while progress may not move at the pace we’d like to see, it will happen. Plan on it.