The long-awaited cannabis legislation was introduced on Thursday, but faces an uphill battle for its passage. The Marijuana Reinvestment and Elimination of Opportunity Act (MORE Act) seeks to decriminalize marijuana and open up a legal cannabis market in the United States. This bill has been met with both optimism and concern from legislators, citizens, and experts alike. As New York prepares to open a legal cannabis market, U.
S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has introduced legislation to legalize cannabis at the federal level. This bill seeks to overturn the criminalization of marijuana that has been in place for over 50 years. While this bill has been met with enthusiasm from many in the cannabis industry, there are still some concerns that need to be addressed.
One of the main concerns is the use of marijuana by non-citizens. This is an issue that needs to be addressed before the bill can be voted on. Additionally, there are some legislators who are not in favor of federal decriminalization, such as Senator Jon Tester from Montana, where marijuana is legal. Legal cannabis presents an enormous financial opportunity and the industry is growing rapidly; a report from the cannabis website Leafly shows that there are more than 428,000 full-time jobs in the cannabis industry, with a 33 percent increase in jobs alone last year.
The MORE Act also proposes a federal tax on marijuana products, a 5% excise tax for the first two years, increasing 1% each year for the next three years. The Department of Justice is currently prohibited from using federal funds to interfere with state laws that legalize medical marijuana due to an amendment that needs to be renewed by Congress. There have also been rumors of meetings between politicians and experts in the cannabis industry to begin outlining and possibly drafting a set of regulations that the federal government would ultimately use as a basis for a federal cannabis regulatory program. At the federal level, cannabis continues to be classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act, where Schedule I substances are considered to have a high potential for dependency and are not accepted for medical use, making cannabis distribution a federal offense. The MORE Act faces an uphill battle for its passage but it has opened up conversations about long-sought changes in the law and treatment of marijuana at the federal level. It remains to be seen if this bill will pass or if it will be renewed by Congress but it is clear that there is hope for change in the near future.