After the results of Georgia’s runoff election, Democrats now control the US House and Senate. The House and Senate controlled by Democrats makes federal marijuana legislation, such as the MORE Act, more likely. Under the MORE Act, marijuana would be removed from Schedule I classification and would provide greater employment protections, eliminate the high tax rate caused by I.R.C. § 280E, and allow for financial services. The MORE Act passed in the House on December 4th but was met with resistance from the Republican-controlled Senate.
While federal legislation is more probable under a Democrat-controlled Senate, legislation that calls for substantial changes such as the MORE Act and federal legalization will not come quickly. With other governmental priorities such as COVID and the economy, incremental changes in the cannabis industry are more likely. We should first expect banking reform, such as the SAFE Banking Act, to be the first pieces of legislation enacted by the new Legislature. Allowing banks to provide financial services would be a relatively risk-free change that lawmakers can commit to while providing cannabis operators access to traditional banking services, start-up financing, and financing to expand operations.