Monday, April 22, 2024

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U.S. Senate Unlikely to Pass Federal Legalization Unless Changes Are Made

The U.S. House of Representatives is planning on passing legislation that would decriminalize marijuana federally. This comes after years of petitioning and development of the marijuana industry. Although this is great news, the Senate is highly unlikely to pass the monumental bill. Many experts believe that the bill will be shot down in the senate due to a lack of bipartisanship. “We believe passage again in the House is likely, but we continue to believe it is unlikely to pass the Senate in its current form,” Michael S. Lavery, a senior research analyst at Piper Sandler, wrote in a note to clients. “It still requires 60 votes in the Senate, a level of support we do not believe it has.”

This bill is called the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, or the MORE Act. The bill removes marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act and eliminates criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana. This bill also comes with an implementation of a federal marijuana tax, raising money that would go towards communities negatively impacted by the War on Drugs.

If passed in the House, the bill would move onto the Senate, requiring 60 votes to pass. As of 2022, this would require at least 10 GOP senators to back the bill if every Democrat voted in favor.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has promised to pick up the bill and do whatever it takes to get it passed. Some Democrats in the Senate have already voiced their opposition to federally legalized marijuana, leading some to believe it will never happen.

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