Federal adult-use cannabis legalization has become a real possibility, pending certain outcomes of the 2020 November election cycle. While a post-prohibition reality would only be possible if Democrats take control of the presidency, Senate, and House of Representatives, current national polls show that marijuana industry advocates have reason to prepare for this scenario.
Randal Meye, the executive director of the Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce (GACC), said that a clean sweep by the democrats would make a descheduling of interstate cannabis trade well within “the realm of possibility.”
The federal descheduling of marijuana would have huge impacts on the potential growth of the cannabis industry. A deschedulement of the drug would mean federal legalization of marijuana, and end to the 280E tax restrictions, open banking access, and the ability for the industry to trade freely on both interstate and international levels.
While states would still have the ability to keep marijuana illegal within their own borders, federal legalization would likely mean a radical influx in growth across the nation—especially as states seek to use marijuana as a means of recovery due to the economic effects of coronavirus.
The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act would likely be the primary vehicle towards deschedulement should the Democrats manage to take the White House and the Senate. The MORE Act has already been presented to the House of Representatives in 2020, and will be voted upon after the 2020 election cycle.
If the Democratic clean sweep does not take place, the fallback plan for many advocate groups is to push for lesser legislation like the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which would allow financial institutions to serve cannabis-related businesses without the impending threat of federal punishment.
Regardless of the 2020 election outcome, industry leaders hope to stay prepared for a market that could go in very different directions.