The question for a long time has been whether the federal government will follow the states’ lead and legalize cannabis. Most states have some type of legalization or decriminalization. A federal law change would legalize the drug everywhere and at every level despite state law.
The issue is that while cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, it causes issues for the states where it is legal. Specifically, it creates problems for businesses trying to do something as simple as opening a bank account. Forbes explains Congress recently approved a measure to increase the access cannabis businesses have to banking, which many see as a step forward. However, many supporters still hold out hope for legalization at the federal level.
The MORE Act is currently ready for introduction. This act removes cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act. It also makes many changes to existing laws that affect those with marijuana convictions. It may end denials for security clearance, government benefits and immigration due to cannabis use. It may also add a resentencing and record expungement process for those with convictions.
The act creates a new Cannabis Justice Office as part of the Department of Justice for handling cannabis-related issues. It will develop programs that help those impacted by current cannabis laws to introduce small business loans, job training and barrier reduction for employment in the industry. Funding for the changes and programs comes from a 5% federal tax added to all cannabis sales.
Of course, not everyone is on board with all the changes. Some members of Congress prefer a different approach. They support states having the right to determine cannabis laws instead of the federal government. Some want more restrictive aspects of the MORE Act.