Why the MORE Act is unlikely to make it past Congress

Published Sep 24, 2020 09:00 a.m. ET
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Time is running out for the MORE Act this year, but it did not seem likely that the votes would have passed through Congress anyway. The MORE Act is seen as a big step forward for marijuana reform, and the passing of the act would see marijuana removed from the controlled substances schedule while also improving business, banking prospects, and many lives.

Companies and individuals would benefit, specifically those individuals affected by the drug war, but the Act could certainly use some improvements, as the general feelings from the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) are that the Act would help some but not all cannabis enthusiasts.

What is the MORE Act?

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act is commonly referred to as the MORE Act.  The MORE Act's initiation would see marijuana removed from the controlled Substances Act and establish a trust fund. The trust fund would be designed to assist those communities and individuals that have been negatively touched and damaged by the ongoing drug war.

Who would benefit from the MORE Act?

Those individuals with federal convictions would benefit from the MORE Act, but state and local cannabis convictions are among the vast majority of cannabis arrests today. Morgan Fox, the director of NCIA, believes that the act sets an example for individual states to look at and follow. Hopefully, the MORE Act could lead to federal funding for the state expungement programs too.

Josh Horn believes that assuming the act passes in the House, it will reflect on the positive change the country is making in the federal marijuana legalization path. Horn further states that Rome was not built in a day and so the federal legalization of cannabis could still take a while.

Legal expert Eric Berlin states that if the bill were passed, the floodgates would be open for the cannabis market, and subsequently, other marijuana reform and action would soon become necessary. In Berlin's views, the MORE Act would help open the capital market, likely enabling cannabis companies, including the plant-touching companies, to publicly be listed on the Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange.

The big question is, can the MORE Act pass?

If you want the short answer, it seems to be unanimously doubtful. The House may pass the bill, but it is much more likely that it will be stopped as the majority Leader Mitch McConnel has, on several occasions, derailed and shot down any federal marijuana legalization efforts in the past. The NCIA firmly believes that even if the bill were to pass the Senate, it would be irrelevant.

NCIA's Fox believes that McConnell will not call it for a vote in this current session. Eric Berlin from the company Denton, and Horn shares a similar position emphasizing on the party divide. Horn feels the likely passing of the Act will be on partisan lines due to the Democratic party. The party has promoted cannabis and criminal reform. Due to partisan reasons, Horn does not see it moving in the Senate, where most Republican Senators are firmly against cannabis reform.

Final words

The MORE Act and what it stands for can only help remove the stigma that’s been associated with cannabis for several decades. Although, as was stated earlier, Rome was not built in a day, neither will the MORE Act rise that quickly. However, to see this act come into being, we need to keep pushing for change.

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