Will House Chaos Hurt Cannabis Again?

The House of Representatives appears to be on the verge of another speech chaos. Will it hurt the cannabis industry like last time?

It appears that the US House of Representatives could be in turmoil again. Last fall, then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's rejection led to a bitter battle for a new leader. The winner of the fight is Representative Mike Johnson, who is now again in danger of being ousted. The final fight ended with very little opposition in Congress and the only major bill that passed was temporary funding for the government. Now it looks like everything will start all over again. But will House speaker chaos hurt cannabis again?

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After passing the House seven times, Safe Banking, critical to the industry, failed in the Senate. Then, miraculously, last fall, Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA), along with Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Steve Daines (R-MT), and the US -Representatives Dave Joyce (R-OH-14) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03). They introduced a bipartisan, bicameral Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFER) Banking Act of 2023. The bill would ensure that legal cannabis businesses would have access to essential banking and financial services. Since they had strong support in the Senate and a positive history with the House, things were looking good – but then the House faltered and McCarthy was ousted. But what about now?

Now Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) is calling for Speaker Johnson (R-LA) to vacate and has a new ally for her efforts. But for now, cannabis may face a short-term hiccup in the House of Representatives. After a slow start by the Biden administration, rescheduling appears to be moving forward. Now the president, vice president and other leaders are urging the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to follow suggestions from the Health and Human Service (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reclassify cannabis and recognize it as having proven medical benefits .

Rescheduling is critical to the industry as it provides long- and short-term infrastructure to support the marijuana market. It also signals to the public that marijuana can be beneficial. Congress has no role in this process, so don't worry.

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Senator Schumer has also made it clear that a revised banking bill is important, but will most likely not be implemented until later in the year. This gives the House time to sort through the chaos and evaluate the benefits of a banking bill. And it appeals to younger voters. Hopefully this will all be resolved by mid-May at the latest.

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