The path to full cannabis legalization in the US continues to be fraught with challenges, despite the recent congressional win for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act), one cannabis lobbyist says.

Saphira Galoob, CEO of federal advocacy firm The Liaison Group, said the clash between the Democrat-backed MORE Act and the Republican-run Senate could leave cannabis legalization in limbo.

“The Senate doesn’t care about the MORE Act because the MORE Act, very practically speaking, is an approach for legalization that is led by progressives and criminal justice reform advocates. It is not led by moderate Democrats or Republicans,” she said.

On Wednesday (November 20), the MORE Act was pushed toward Congress after getting approval from the House Judiciary Committee in a 24 to 10 vote. The Act seeks to strip marijuana of its listing as a Schedule 1 drug, which currently puts it alongside substances like heroin and ecstasy, effectively ending prohibition at the federal level.

It would also give states the power to expunge the criminal records of people with low-level cannabis offenses.

Galoob spoke on Wednesday at an investor event in Toronto dedicated to evaluating the status of the US cannabis policy sector. The legal expert told investors that the win for the Act doesn’t mean the US market is fully open just yet.

“As long as the House is Democrat, and as long as the Senate is Republican, you’re going to have an impasse in Congress on what the approach for legalization is supposed to be,” she added.

Cannabis’ status as a scheduled drug has been one of the biggest barriers to the growth of the American cannabis industry.

Galoob said she expects to see legislative movement in the US across three sectors: veteran access, research and banking.

With the recent House of Representatives approval of the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act), getting financial institutions on board is the best chance for legitimization for the sector, in Galoob’s view.

The SAFE Banking Act, first introduced by Representative Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) in March this year, would bar federal banking regulators from meddling in the affairs between financial institutions and legal cannabis companies.

Despite the bill being celebrated as an advancement for the industry, Galoob noted the SAFE Banking Act should thank interested parties outside of the cannabis industry for its introduction to the next level of government.

“The reason that the SAFE Banking Act … is advancing is not because of cannabis industry advocates,” said Galoob. “It is because of non-cannabis industries.”

The expert explained the American Bankers Association, realtors and insurance providers, to name a few, all have an interest in the passing of the Act as well, as their industries have a stake in the development of the cannabis sector.

She went on to predict that the US will see protections for banks sometime in 2020, but with the chance of the Act being surpassed or interrupted by competing legislation, it might not be the SAFE Banking Act that does it.

Cannabis legalization could be hail mary tactic for Trump

Cannabis legalization in the US could prove to be an important point on the political agenda in the upcoming election, some experts say.

At a conference in June, Vivien Azer, a cannabis analyst with Cowen (NASDAQ:COWN), said US President Donald Trump might look to legalize cannabis ahead of the 2020 election.

“We think that the administration could very well (do it) … it really just comes down to timing,” Azer said.

It would be in line with Trump’s previous support of marijuana, including the signing of the 2018 farm bill that removed hemp and its derivatives, particularly cannabidiol, from the federal scheduling associated with cannabis, but Azer said he may hold off with an overarching cannabis legalization policy unless his numbers don’t compare with the opposition.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Cannabis for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Danielle Edwards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

American cannabis sales hit US$17.5 billion in 2020, a research group’s new study shows.

Meanwhile, a Canadian cannabis producer began offering CBD beverages in the US, another move that shows how interested Canadians are in the overall US cannabis market at the moment.

Keep reading... Show less

An Emerging Markets Sponsored Commentary

Some pretty important news out of health and wellness; beverage and natural products company BevCanna Enterprises Inc. (CSE:BEV, Q:BVNNF, FSE:7BC) this week. For those of you following the Company with us, stay tuned.

Keep reading... Show less

As investors continue to prioritize cannabis opportunities in the US, market watchers expect mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to play a role in the future for Canadian companies.

A consolidation trend has been expected in the Canadian cannabis space for some time now based on the size of the market compared to the number of operations in the country.

Keep reading... Show less

The product will include polyphenols known to have significant health benefits.

BioHarvest Sciences Inc. (CSE: BHSC) (“BioHarvest” or the “Company”) has reached an important milestone in its development program of additional Nutraceuticals. The olive-based Nutraceutical product scheduled for market availability in the second half of 2022 will contain the following unique matrix of polyphenols: hydroxytyrosol, trosol, and verbascoside. These compounds are the major polyphenols in naturally grown olives and are responsible for the high antioxidant activity of olives and olive oil. Importantly, the BioHarvest olive-based Nutraceutical product will provide all the benefits of olives and olive oil with a low calorie count per serving.

Keep reading... Show less

Cresco Labs (CSE:CL) (OTCQX:CRLBF) (“Cresco” or the “Company”), one of the largest vertically integrated multistate cannabis operators in the United States, announced today that it will report financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31 st , 2020 on Thursday March 25 th , 2021 before the market opens.

The Company will host a conference call and webcast to discuss its financial results and provide investors with key business highlights on Thursday March 25 th , 2021 at 8:30am Eastern Time (7:30am Central Time).

Keep reading... Show less