Hemp businesses cheer as US House votes to decriminalize cannabis

, Hemp businesses cheer as US House votes to decriminalize cannabis

Read more about this bill and cannabis legalization at Marijuana Business Daily.

If Congress decriminalizes cannabis regardless of THC levels as it’s considering, hemp businesses say they can look forward to easier access to banking services and advertising.

The U.S. House on Friday gave initial approval to the much-vaunted Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act – an extraordinary step toward federal decriminalization of cannabis. The bill is a longshot to pass the Senate, however.

Hemp businesses praised the action nonetheless, and looked to better days ahead for the industry if the measure were to become law.

“Once the federal government gets behind it, every state is going to follow within a matter of years. We’ll have completely legalized marijuana, as well as other cannabinoids and things that can be extracted for specialty products,” said Vince Sanders, president and founder of Missouri-based retailer CBD American Shaman.

The measure wouldn’t create a federal licensing or federal regulatory framework. States could, however, regulate marijuana as they saw fit without federal interference. It could potentially open up an already fast-growing, multibillion-dollar industry to billions of dollars of additional business opportunities and interstate commerce over time.

Sanders said CBD businesses still have problems getting banking services, even though the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp federally.

“Once those barriers drop and it’s like, ‘Hey, even marijuana is legal,’ then the banks can get their head around it like, ‘Well, OK. CBD obviously is OK,'” he said.

Opponents of the MORE Act criticized Democrats for prioritizing marijuana during the coronavirus crisis and voiced concerns about health risks for youth.

The MORE Act passed 228-164 after an hour of debate, with handful of Republicans  joining Democrats in voting for the measure. It came on the same week the United Nations took the historic step of reclassifying cannabis as a less dangerous drug.

Friday’s vote will ultimately be symbolic, however, unless the Senate passes the bill in the remaining weeks. Any legislation that does not become law by the end of the lame-duck session must begin anew after the next Congress is seated.

Democrats could gain control of the U.S. Senate by winning two run-off races in Georgia on Jan. 5.

Daniel Garcia, who launched an online store called Reefined CBD a few weeks ago, praised the MORE Act for addressing the war on drugs that has disproportionately impacted minorities in terms of incarceration.

“This issue has been touching a lot of minorities, especially Black people and Latin people, communities being destroyed,” he said.

Decriminalizing cannabis would go a long way toward eliminating the stigma of it and the challenges businesses face because of it, Garcia said.

“It will open a lot of doors, not just for us but for a lot of cannabis companies, with advertising, promoting. It’s really hard for us to find advertising online,” he said.

Sanders said even with decriminalization, it’s going to take time for the hemp industry to generate the variety of products the plant can provide.

“Plants don’t exist to make fiber at this point,” he said, citing one example. “With an 80-plus-year prohibition, all of these things are going to require a lot of capital investment, which will come, but when is the question.”

Ivan Moreno can be reached at [email protected]

4 comments on “Hemp businesses cheer as US House votes to decriminalize cannabis
  1. Ray on

    “Health risks for youths”? Name one. Then compare that health risk to the caffeine and sugar in a Pepsi or Mountain Dew kids drink every day.

    These politicians are paid off and not working for the people. Kentucky just voted to keep Mitch McConnell in office for another 2 years he will stall the MORE bill. Nothing short of bing called out by Kamila Harris in January big time will move this bill in the new senate.

    Reply
  2. jay berry on

    if the hemp industry wants to grow it needs to get away from marijuana. i am building a 30 million dollar fiber facility. this is not good marijuana should stay federally illegal. i grew 1000 acres of fiber this year and 4500 acres of fiber next year. hopefully the senate blocks this bill.

    Reply
  3. Iya Brenda on

    I’m so glad to see some progress being achieved in congress, and hopefully, the Senate will see the benefits of decriminalizing Cannabis and Hemp. It really does not need to be an either-or situation. The disproportionate amount of incarceration of minorities, due to cannabis possession is criminal in and of itself. I have had cancer patient’s caretakers, be afraid to transport and provide their cannabis medication of simple THC tinctures, for fear of being arrested, for bringing their loved one cannabis for pain. They would rather get their loved ones addicted to legalized opioids, which have proven to be fatal in some instances.

    People need to stop acting like Hemp and Cannabis are not equally important, they are. And the fact that some feel they are entitled o make money while others in marginalized communities get to continue to suffer is the main reason why this bill MUST pass; for the good of everyone, not just the hegemony who have marijuana and big hemp money.

    Reply
  4. lexington whitney on

    from the above article:

    Sanders said even with decriminalization, it’s going to take time for the hemp industry to generate the variety of products the plant can provide.

    “Plants don’t exist to make fiber at this point,” he said, citing one example. “With an 80-plus-year prohibition, all of these things are going to require a lot of capital investment, which will come, but when is the question.”

    Many in this industry are misinformed or have not taken time to research the product they sell. Fibrous hemp (ex. Cannabis ruderalis- that tall skinny, fiberous, bamboo like hemp plant) is grown all over the world and is the source for hemp seed, hemp seed oil, and hemp fiber used in industrial products. The current “Industrial hemp” ( CBD hemp) is a “reverse-genetics” Cannabis sativa or C indica where the decades-long hybridization to increase thc in strains to high levels has been reversed to increase the majority of cannabinoids while decreasing delta 9 thc. There are plenty of that strain available. Millions of pounds are produced in China, Canada, E Europe.

    Reply
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