Monday, June 24, 2024

Dem. Senator And Former Astronaut Mark Kelly Joins Colleagues Against Federal Marijuana Reform

This is a clear sign that the MORE Act has a slim chance of reaching President Biden’s desk, considering it needs 60 votes and most Republicans already openly spoke against it.

By Nina Zdinjak

Even though the House of Representatives approved the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, H.R. 3617 on April 1, sending it to Senate, the big cannabis battle isn’t over. Some say it has just begun.

The MORE Act, which aim removes cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act, allowing states to legalize cannabis, its production, and sale, free from federal interference, seems to have many opponents among politicians.

Photo by Elsa Olofsson via Unsplash

RELATED:  Here’s How Many Americans Want To See Marijuana Legalized, New Poll Reveals

On the other hand, the newest survey conducted by YouGov, more than 50% of the U.S. population wants to see marijuana legal on the federal level.

More precisely, 60% said yes to cannabis legalization. While Democrats are more likely to support the change, 72% of them voted for marijuana reform. Republicans are evenly split on the issue, with 46% supporting and 46% opposing it.

Just this week, U.S. Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) confirmed the fear that the bill doesn’t have the support of all the Democrats in the Senate.

Kelly, a retired NASA astronaut and retired U.S. Navy captain, noted that the bill should make operations easier for cannabis businesses in states that have legalized the plant, but “stopped short of endorsing it,” writes azfamily.

“I think in general, folks that are legally conducting business in states like Arizona should have access to the banking system, but I’ll have to look at the details,” Kelly said.

This is a clear sign that the MORE Act has slim chances of reaching President Biden’s desk, considering it needs 60 votes out of the 100-member chamber and most of the Republicans already openly spoke against it.

marijuana legalization
Photo by Olena Ruban/Getty Images

Senators Who Recently Opened Up Against Cannabis Reform 

When asked last week at the Capitol about the MORE Act, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said, “Okay, I don’t support that. I’ve had family members who have had a lot of drug issues, and so I’m not going to do it,” reported CNSNews.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex) replied and Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla) shared the same stance.

Even, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), who is one of the leaders among GOP representatives in favor of removing cannabis from the list of federally controlled substances voted against it. Why?

RELATED: House Passes MORE Act To Legalize Weed At The Federal Level, But Don’t Get Too Excited

“The MORE Act forces a system on South Carolinians and other states they do not want. By comparison, my bill, the States Reform Act, removes the federal government from the equation and allows states to decide for themselves,” Mace explained as reported by The State.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO.) doesn’t think the measure “would pass the Senate right now,” and Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) emphasized that there are “serious drug problems in Montana,” a state that legalized recreational marijuana in recent years.

A Spark Of Light 

What many cannabis enthusiasts across the U.S. say they’re hoping for, and most cannabis industry experts agree upon, is that medical marijuana legalization has a better chance, as does some form of cannabis banking reform.

Republicans, in general, seem to be more interested in helping to resolve what many see as one of the biggest problems in the industry: banking. Medical marijuana reform seems to be more easily acceptable to members of both parties.

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.


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