Presidential candidates are coming out in support of cannabis legalization, but these bills could make that a reality even sooner.
It may feel far off now, but November 3, 2020, looms closer every day.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not looking forward to the slew of attack ads and general nastiness we’re about to see in the media.
But as more and more presidential candidates enter the playing field and begin to solidify their platforms, I see a silver lining – or maybe a green one.
Calling for the legalization of marijuana is no longer taboo. In fact, it’s becoming the norm.
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) has painted himself as a champion of legalization. You might remember him grilling William Barr on the subject during his attorney general confirmation hearings back in January.
And Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) – once a hardline prosecutor in the war on drugs – has changed her tune on legalization. She opposed it as recently as 2014, but now she says, “We need to legalize marijuana and regulate it.” (We know a prominent republican who made the same change, too.)
They’re in good company. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have all announced their support for federal legalization.
President Donald Trump hasn’t officially said anything one way or the other, but he has stated he would support cannabis legislation, and my good friend and colleague Tim Melvin predicts the president will make his move on cannabis incredibly soon.
But will we even have to wait that long?
Two bills have been introduced into Congress, and they could mean huge things for cannabis legalization – and huge profits for those who know where to put their money today.
One of those bills is the STATES Act, which we first discussed in detail after my interview with Representative David Joyce (R-OH) last November. Joyce co-sponsored the bill with Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and he’s confident about its chances of passing this year.
But another piece of cannabis legislation – Senate Bill 420 – was introduced last month.
Here’s why that bill could provide an even greater opportunity for massive profits…
A 60-Day Mandate
Last week, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced S.420, known as the “Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act.”
This new bill would require the Drug Enforcement Administration to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act within 60 days. Individual states could choose to keep prohibition intact, but federal prohibition – and the confusion it causes in legal states – would be eradicated.
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S.420 would also amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for the taxation and regulation of cannabis products, thereby requiring retailers to add an excise tax to marijuana just as alcohol and tobacco are taxed.
Businesses would need to register for special permits to sell product, and that product would face labeling and advertising requirements similar to those required for alcohol.
And regulating cannabis like alcohol and tobacco just makes sense. As I’ve said before, marijuana isn’t all that different from other consumer packaged goods – we’re just seeing it grow much faster. Drawing from the regulations in place in established industries allows that growth to continue without the hindrance of bureaucratic quagmires.
Will It Pass?
This is not the first time we’ve seen a bill numbered 420 – a number celebrated within traditional cannabis culture. In fact, we seem to see a piece of cannabis legislation with that number every year.
Obviously, none of those previous bills passed, and S.420 definitely faces an uphill battle.
But there is good reason to be hopeful. In a statement, Senator Wyden said, “The American people have elected the most pro-cannabis Congress in American history.”
And he’s right. While the thought of lawmakers passing this sort of legislation would have been laughable in the past, the fact anyone is taking a serious look at this bill speaks volumes to how much – and how quickly – public attitudes have changed.
It’s time we stop being surprised by these changes. When a drug warrior enters the presidential race with a pro-cannabis lean and when a house speaker once “unalterably opposed” to legalization says he’s going “all in” on cannabis, there should be no shock when our elected officials pass a bill like this.
For my money, I think the STATES Act has the best shot of passing this year, but I can promise you I won’t be caught off guard if something else – something bigger – happens first.
Make sure you don’t get caught off guard either.
Thank you for being an integral part of the National Institute for Cannabis Investors,
Executive Director, National Institute for Cannabis Investors
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12 responses to “As the 2020 Race Nears, Federal Legalization Could Be Even Closer”
February 13 2019