Interest in cannabis, both for medical and recreational use, is increasing across the country. While several states have legalized its use, it remains illegal on the federal level. Even so, more states are looking to allow it in some capacity, and many secured legal status in the recent November election. Here are some of the latest developments in cannabis legalization news.
Cannabis Legalization News Reports Postponed US House Vote
The US House of Representatives was set to vote on a measure to decriminalize cannabis on the federal level in September. The measure is known as the “Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019,” which would officially remove cannabis from the list of controlled substances.
The vote was supposed to occur near the end of the month, but it was delayed until after the November election. While many in the cannabis industry were disappointed by the delay, many believe it won’t change the momentum of the movement to legalize cannabis on the federal level.
States Voting on Cannabis in November
While the vote to decriminalize cannabis on the federal level might have to wait, several states across the country voted on what happens within their borders during the presidential election.
In New Jersey, residents just amended the state’s constitution to legalize the use of recreational cannabis for adults 21 and older. According to the measure, the commission that currently oversees medical cannabis will also oversee the personal use market. Additionally, all products would be subject to sales tax. Arizona and Montana residents voted on similar measures to legalize recreational-use cannabis with similar results.
Meanwhile, South Dakota just legalized cannabis for medical use. South Dakota has an additional measure regarding recreational cannabis for adults 21 years of age and older.
Mississippi just legalized medical cannabis. The state’s ballot had two versions of a medical cannabis amendment. The first, Initiative Measure No. 65 is a citizen-driven measure, while the second, Alternative Initiative Measure No.65, was introduced by the state.
How Cannabis Policies Might Change After the Election
There are a few key cannabis policies that could change soon, pending the results of the recent election. For one, the now rescheduled vote could lead to the de-scheduling of cannabis. Moreover legalizing medical cannabis on a federal level.
Many don’t expect this to happen unless there’s a shift in power and there are more Democrats in office. If cannabis gets removed from the list of controlled substances and medical cannabis becomes federally legal, the country could see significant business and job opportunities.
If the White House and the Senate turn blue, it’s possible that we could see the passage of the SAFE Banking Act. The act would keep federal banking regulators from punishing banks that work with cannabis businesses operating within the confines of the law.
Many are also hopeful to see the elimination of the tax code 280E. If this were to happen, cannabis businesses would be able to take standard business deductions, just like any other business. As of now, cannabis businesses can only deduct the cost of goods sold (COGS).
News in the cannabis world is constantly changing. With the November election freshly over, we’re seeing more states turn green. While it’s too soon to tell, we may also soon see the legalization of medical cannabis on the federal level.