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US Congress to Vote on Cannabis Legalization Bill

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Mar 25, 2022   

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US Congress to Vote on Cannabis Legalization Bill

The hopes and stocks of cannabis companies across the US soared yesterday after reports that the House of Representatives has scheduled a vote next week to federally legalize cannabis.

The bill was added today, March 25, to the official list of House bills to be considered for the week beginning March 28, but the first reports of the move came from Marijuana Moment on March 24.

These initial reports caused the share prices of the cannabis companies Tilray and Canopy Growth to rise by 20 and 10 percent, respectively.


MORE, MORE, MORE

The bill, known as the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) act, would remove cannabis from the US’s Controlled Substances Act and eliminate penalties for the cultivation, production, and possession of cannabis. There is also a provision to expunge previous cannabis offenses and create a sentencing review process for those convicted of federal cannabis crimes.

The bill was actually passed by the House of Representatives back in December 2020, largely along US party lines; 222 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and 1 Libertarian were in favor, while 158 Republicans and 6 Democrats were against.

But, as that session of Congress quickly came to a close, the bill failed to advance in the then-Republican-controlled Senate.

Now, with a new session of Congress firmly in swing, the bill will start its journey again in the House.

According to Marijuana Moment, the Rules Committee will take up the bill in a Monday afternoon meeting to prepare it for the House floor. This vetting process will involve determining which amendments will be allowed to advance for consideration.

The act has already cleared the Judiciary Committee and is sponsored by Congressman Jerrold Nadler.

How will the bill fare in its second reading? Well, if the rising cannabis stocks are anything to go by, plenty of investors think it has a good chance of again passing through the House. The Senate may be a taller obstacle, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has been a vocal advocate for the bill and cannabis reform.

And it seems the Senate can get behind certain pieces of cannabis legislation. Only yesterday, March 24, it unanimously approved the Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion act, a bill that should help promote cannabis research.

“Current rules and regulations make it hard for researchers to study how marijuana and marijuana-derived medications can best be used to treat various conditions,” Senator Dianne Feinstein said in a statement following the bill’s passing.

“This important legislation will cut the red tape around the research process, helping get [Food and Drug Administration]-approved, marijuana-derived medications safely to patients.”

 

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