Federal Cannabis Legalization: Are The Stars Aligning? Will The Dems And GOP Meet In The Middle?

Federal Cannabis Legalization: Are The Stars Aligning? Will The Dems And GOP Meet In The Middle?

Cannabis stocks went into a tizzy, in a good way, on Thursday’s blockbuster news that the House of Representatives will call a vote next week on the MORE Act - Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement – which seeks to remove cannabis from the list of federally controlled substances and promote social equity in the industry. 

Then, within hours came more news: the Senate unanimously approved a bipartisan bill promoting cannabis research. The latter didn’t quite get the shouts and murmurs nor cause cannabis stocks to go wild, but, as one researcher put it, “Cannabis contains a galaxy of unexplored compounds...that may well transform our understanding of plant medicine and human biology." So, yes, legalizing cannabis research was another piece of huge news.

What About Cannabis Stocks?

Doubtless, cannabis legalization in the U.S. would be a huge milestone for cannabis stocks, especially in view of the slow but sad drop over the past year, due largely to dashed hopes over the progress, or lack thereof, regarding U.S. federal legalization.

And though nothing is official just yet, the suggestion that cannabis legalization is being discussed at the highest levels of government has encouraged investors and has kept cannabis stocks continuing to respond positively. 

What’s Next?

Cantor Fitzgerald’s analyst Pablo Zuanic said he assumes the MORE bill’s main sponsor Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) has been in touch with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who is expected to file his own Bill - the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA) on April 20. CAOA is a broader reform bill than the SAFE Act that would allow for interstate cannabis commerce across the US.

“Both bills, or an eventual joint version, in our view, will at least allow Democrats to claim they are doing their very best to pass comprehensive cannabis reform. The conventional wisdom view is that neither Bill has the votes in the Senate to pass (based on what we know at this moment, we agree with that sentiment)," Zuanic said. "But as Rep. Perlmutter (sponsor of the SAFE Banking Act) told us recently 'the stars are aligning.'" 

Can The Democrats Pull It Off?

Can these leading Senate Democrats afford to come out empty-handed after bringing so much attention to their reform proposals?

Zuanic says that the SAFE Banking Act could be more than just "face-saving" for the Democrats.

"SAFE passage could be an honorable start, and provide a realistic spark for future broader more comprehensive reform. Supposedly, SAFE (in its current version) has more than 60 votes in the Senate. It will all come down to Sen Majority Leader Schumer: do nothing this term (in terms of getting actual MJ legislation passed), or tweak Rep Perlmutter's Bill."

Clearly, getting even one of these bills passed by the Senate is the challenge.

Benzinga's view:

It might behoove the potential naysayers in the Senate to give the situation some real, non-partisan thought as it would make sense to recognize that a vast majority - fully 68% - of their own constituents indeed want cannabis legalized, regulated and fairly taxed.

“Today, voters of every age and in virtually every region of the country agree that marijuana should be legal," said NORML's former executive director Erik Altieri. "We have a mandate from the American people and we intend to make sure that elected officials abide by it.”   

Photo by Mike Von on Unsplash

Let's continue this conversation in person with people in the know at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conversation in Miami on April 20-21 Get your ticket HERE


Posted In: cannabis legalizationcannabis stocksMORE actRep. Jerrold NadlerRep. PerlmutterSen. Chuck SchumerAnalyst ColorCannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsTopicsFDALegalEconomicsMarketsAnalyst RatingsGeneral

Ad Disclosure: The rate information is obtained by Bankrate from the listed institutions. Bankrate cannot guaranty the accuracy or availability of any rates shown above. Institutions may have different rates on their own websites than those posted on Bankrate.com. The listings that appear on this page are from companies from which this website receives compensation, which may impact how, where, and in what order products appear. This table does not include all companies or all available products.

All rates are subject to change without notice and may vary depending on location. These quotes are from banks, thrifts, and credit unions, some of whom have paid for a link to their own Web site where you can find additional information. Those with a paid link are our Advertisers. Those without a paid link are listings we obtain to improve the consumer shopping experience and are not Advertisers. To receive the Bankrate.com rate from an Advertiser, please identify yourself as a Bankrate customer. Bank and thrift deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Credit union deposits are insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

Consumer Satisfaction: Bankrate attempts to verify the accuracy and availability of its Advertisers' terms through its quality assurance process and requires Advertisers to agree to our Terms and Conditions and to adhere to our Quality Control Program. If you believe that you have received an inaccurate quote or are otherwise not satisfied with the services provided to you by the institution you choose, please click here.

Rate collection and criteria: Click here for more information on rate collection and criteria.