Many in the industry were dismayed by the recent delay in voting for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act in the House of Representatives and the only thing they can expect now is – more delay.
Earlier this fall, the Democratic leadership did announce that they would schedule the a vote for the act that would federally remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, put money towards communities impacted by the War on Drugs and expunge some criminal records. However, concerns were raised by members in districts with tight races this November that a controversial vote on cannabis would not be in their best interest.
Two other major hurdles for the House, they have yet to pass legislation providing for more COVID relief and a Continuing Resolution to keep the government running. The truth of the matter is that the House simply has bigger fish to fry than cannabis and can’t come across to their constituents that they care more about cannabis then helping those struggling with the Coronavirus.
And you can now add to the growing list of bigger concerns the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. While the Senate would be the ones to conduct the confirmation hearing for the new proposed justice for the court, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made it quite clear that they will do whatever they can to slow down that process, including another possible impeachment of President Donald Trump or an impeachment of Attorney General William Barr.
Even if the House were to take up a vote on the MORE Act and pass it, some say that it would face an uphill battle in the Senate. I would be a bit more honest with cannabis advocates and tell them that it would be dead upon arrival in the Senate.
Any mention of recent cannabis reform measures that have been inserted into COVID economic relief bills has been received by the Senate with vitriol. Yes, two years ago the Senate did pass the Farm Bill that legalized the use of CBD and hemp, but Senate Leader Mitch McConnell’s love of hemp simply does not extend to cannabis. Until he can see the value that it brings to Kentucky or until Democrats regain the control of the Senate, adult use cannabis businesses will not see legislation in the Senate to benefit them.
It is difficult to say how long it will take for the Senate and the House to come together on the COVID Economic Relief Bill and the Continuing Resolution to avoid another government shutdown. Or what lengths the House will go to impact the upcoming General Election, but one thing is for sure, cannabis will not be in their plans and most definitely not before the election.