A bill to federally decriminalize cannabis by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act is subject to vote in December.

Congressional vote on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act was postponed from September due to COVID-19. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is the chief sponsor of the MORE Act in the Senate.

The MORE Act will “decriminalize cannabis and expunge convictions for non-violent cannabis offenses that have prevented many Americans from getting jobs, applying for credit and loans and accessing opportunities that make it possible to get ahead in our economy,” wrote House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer earlier this month.

Because the anticipated “blue wave” did not occur in the 2020 election, the MORE Act may not pass as easily as may have been anticipated in a Republican-controlled Senate. Approval of the measure in the future may hinge on the outcome of the two Georgia Senate runoff elections in January, which needs Democratic victors to secure Democratic control of the House and Senate. However, popular support is at a record high: a Gallup poll shows that seven in 10 Americans support legalizing the possession and use of cannabis by adults. Regardless of the result, the MORE act is a significant step in the direction of legalizing marijuana federally, ending a jarring and often awkward dissonance between federal mandates and state laws.

Our Cannabis Industry team continues to monitor developments in cannabis legislation and regulatory compliance.

This alert does not purport to be a substitute for advice of counsel on specific matters.

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