Pot Stocks Ignite, as House Readies MORE Vote

If you’re a marijuana investor looking for a profit catalyst, keep your eyes on Washington, DC. The marijuana industry is about to score an historic victory in the U.S. Congress.

The U.S. House Rules Committee on Wednesday officially advanced the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would lift the federal ban on marijuana. A full chamber vote on MORE is slated for Friday and it’s expected to pass.

The MORE Act, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), would remove marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances, expunge the records of those with previous marijuana convictions, promote equity in the industry, and impose a federal tax on marijuana products to fund various social programs.

Nadler stated that his legislation would “reverse decades of failed federal policies based on the criminalization of marijuana” and “also take steps to address the heavy toll these policies have taken across the country, particularly amongst communities of color.”

The Democratic-controlled House is likely to pass MORE by a wide margin, handing the marijuana industry a pivotal victory that sends a strong signal to the states. Pro-cannabis forces are all a-buzz (so to speak), as exemplified by this March 30 tweet:

MORE’s eventual fate in the 50-50 Senate is uncertain, but the prospect of its imminent passage in the House has lit a fire beneath pot stocks this week. Well-known marijuana companies and exchange-traded funds have jumped on the news. In the coming weeks, further momentum is likely as the Senate takes up the bill.

Mo’ Better MORE…

Drugs, substances, and certain chemicals used to make drugs are classified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) into five distinct schedules (i.e., categories) depending on the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential.

Schedule I drugs aren’t considered safe by the federal government, even under medical supervision. Heroin, peyote, marijuana, and various psychedelics (e.g. LSD) fall into Schedule I, under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The CSA was passed in 1970 and became a cornerstone in the now-discredited War on Drugs.

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The major provisions of the MORE Act would:

  • Remove marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from the federal CSA and mandate expungement of related criminal convictions.
  • Prohibit the denial of federal benefits based on a would-be recipient’s “use or possession of cannabis, or on the basis of a conviction or adjudication of juvenile delinquency for a cannabis offense.”
  • Bar certain federally funded programs from declining to provide services or financial assistance to an otherwise eligible small business because the business operates in the cannabis industry.
  • Create cannabis tax and grant programs funded by a 5% sales tax on cannabis products. This tax revenue would go toward a Community Reinvestment Grant Program that provides services for “individuals most adversely impacted by the War on Drugs,” including employment training, health education, mentoring, literacy programs, and substance abuse treatment programs.
  • Direct the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to gather demographic data about cannabis business owners and employees, to guide Congress in future rule-making for the industry.

When the MORE Act reaches the House floor on Friday, it will represent the second time in history that marijuana legalization legislation has been taken up by a full chamber of Congress. An earlier version of the bill passed the House in 2020, but got bottled up in the Senate. MORE passed again this session in the House Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Nadler.

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John Persinos is the editor-in-chief of Marijuana Investing Daily.

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