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After Sweeping The Elections, What Comes Next For Cannabis

The cannabis landscape is ever changing

One winner of the 2020 elections is undisputed: cannabis. In every state where it was voted on – for adult use, medically, or both – Americans approved cannabis by sweeping margins. In some shape or form, it was legalized in New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, South Dakota and Mississippi, bringing the current count to 36 states and the District of Columbia.

The cannabis landscape also changed at the federal level, starting with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris winning the White House and potentially in Georgia, where two Senate races will determine whether Republicans continue to control the chamber.

For clues about what will come next for cannabis in Congress, it’s helpful to consider the actions of the current Congress. Two primary bills for the industry have been the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act and the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. Both bills gained traction in the last year, but will it carry over into 2021? Here’s an analysis of those two bills and their prospects under the Congress and Biden administration.

The SAFE Banking Act

The SAFE Banking Act was introduced in 2017 by U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and it remains a primary legislative goal of the cannabis industry. Because cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, multi-state banks and financial institutions are prohibited from serving cannabis-related businesses, leaving the industry to be powered only by cash. The SAFE Banking Act would allow federally overseen financial institutions to serve cannabis-related businesses that comply with the laws in the states where they operate.

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