A Republican-controlled Senate has proven to be a hurdle for cannabis legislation in Congress. Now that the Georgia runoff elections handed control to Democrats, the path has been cleared.
This is not the same research bill passed in the House earlier this month. It is unclear whether the House will take up the Senate version in the days before Congress’ session ends.
The bill expands the federal cannabis research supply and allows researchers to use cannabis from state-legal entities. It is the second cannabis bill the House has passed this month.
The bill would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and expunge some past convictions. Still, its path in the Republican-controlled Senate remains unclear.
The bill would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, thus ending the federal criminalization of cannabis.
The House passed its fiscal year 2021 budget bills this summer. The House included language about banking, while the Senate put an emphasis on hemp.
The sudden push is puzzling, as cannabis legislation tends to move under House Democrats—and get stalled by Senate Republicans.
Lawmakers, agriculture regulators, and hemp industry stakeholders have been calling for more time to get up to speed with the USDA’s new hemp regulations.
Supporters of the bill to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act expressed frustration and disappointment.
The next step for the bill, which would expand cannabis research in the US, is the full House.
"I’m pleased to bring the MORE Act to the House Floor next month to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told Cannabis Wire.
While the MORE Act stands a solid chance of passage in the Democrat-controlled House, the Senate is another story.
The protections range from expanding banking access to preventing federal interference in states with legal cannabis, but passage in the Senate is uncertain.
An official in the Department’s Antitrust Division said during a House Judiciary Committee hearing that cannabis is “unpopular” with Barr, and therefore he influenced investigations.
An official in the Department’s antitrust division will testify before Congress on Wednesday that Barr’s “personal dislike” of cannabis influenced investigations.
The SAFE Banking Act has been included in the HEROES Act. Whether the language will survive the Senate is another question.