U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) introduced legislation today to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level, offering Republicans a more conservative approach to legalization which proposes taxing and regulating it more like alcohol. From a legislative timing perspective, the bill doesn’t make sense to be released now other than to pressure Schumer and Democrats to step up after they failed with federal cannabis reform of any kind in 2021. The announcement of the bill gave the cannabis industry and markets something to get excited about after being left out to dry by the Democrats this year.
We are excited for the prospects of Rep Mace’s States Reform Act as a competing bill to Senator Schumer’s Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. We feel this bill takes a much more realistic approach to driving federal cannabis reform and addresses pressing needs in a more timely manner. The bill addresses more of the lower hanging fruit that could have a realistic chance of gaining bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. Social justice reform, decriminalization, descheduling, medical and scientific research, and veteran access to medical cannabis should not be used as negotiating tools for a greater federal legalization bill that has no chance to pass in the current political landscape. These are issues that need to be reformed now as every day another person goes to prison for cannabis or is not allowed access to medication.
Some of the highlights of the Bill include:
Though this piece of legislation has no chance to pass in 2021 and little chance to pass a Democrat controlled House and Senate ever, it has been the macro driver the industry has been seeking since March. The rumor of this bill which first circulated on November 5th has caused the American Cannabis Operator Index to increase by 20% since then. That translates into investor interest in the private markets and in small businesses as well.
This is the type of common-sense legislation that will help strike balance to the overly aggressive Schumer bill. For the first time in history, he has an opposing cannabis legalization bill on the table from the other side of the isle. If the Dems don’t play their cards right, they could go into the 2022 midterms with no federal cannabis reform after two years of full control, and an opposing party who is now championing the issue on some levels. Not achieving any social justice, veteran access, or medical research reform at the federal level would be an embarrassment to the party.
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