With the latest Gallup poll for legalization at 68%, big ballot wins for adult use in South Dakota, New Jersey, Montana and Arizona, and therapeutic cannabis deemed essential throughout the COVID-19 crisis, we are heralding in a new era in cannabis.
It’s the first time since 2008 that we’ve seen unified Democratic control of the White House and Congress. We think that bodes well for cannabis, particularly if you look at what Biden said during his campaign about cannabis decriminalization and Schumer’s comments on legalization. The Democrats have an incredible opportunity to stand on the right side of history, but between the COVID-19, economic, climate and racial equality crisis and Biden’s robust legislative agenda, we’re really not expecting to see much movement in his first 100 days in office.
While nothing is a surefire bet, we think descheduling, decriminalization, giving cannabis businesses access to banking and capital, tax reforms that allow cannabis businesses to deduct the ordinary businesses expenses, giving veterans, students and physically and economically challenged access to safer choices and expanding medical research are on the table.
Democrats have an opportunity to implement cohesive, meaningful federal oversight that would create billions of dollars in infrastructure investment, thousands of service level jobs, billions of dollars in tax revenues and more equitable opportunities, so it’s hard to see how that’s not a win-win for them politically and society as a whole.
We also expect the cannabis normalization trend to continue at the state and federal level, states like Virginia and Pennsylvania to make the move from medical to adult-use and even Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky take steps to enact a medical marijuana program.
While there will be many competing priorities being placed in front of the newly sworn in Biden Administration with the focus on his first 100 days, I expect a reincarnation of the MORE Act will be amongst them. Covid vaccine responses, a $2,000 check to Americans, rent relief, stimulus money to struggling states will be top of his list. As Mr. Biden has never been a supporter of cannabis but has stated he would support decriminalization, the timing and ultimate bill which reaches his desk will depend on the push from Majority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi and their respective caucuses. In my view, some sort of legalization or decriminalization will happen in 2021 but not likely immediately given the pandemic.
“Over the years leaders in both parties have been reticent to change cannabis policy despite the majority support for legalization among both Republican and Democrat voters, so legalization advocates and cannabis businesses were limited to very minor changes attached to omnibus budget deals. With new Senate leadership and a strong advocate in the Vice President, actual and significant new laws look like a very real possibility in the next year or two. I think updates to banking and tax law are likely to be seen very quickly, perhaps inside the next 6 months. This could lead to a second bull market phase of investment and new businesses in cannabis over the next few years. De-scheduling and federal legalization may take closer to a year or two, as the Democrats have more pressing priorities. Either way, whether you work in the industry or you understand the moral justification for why cannabis should be legalized, there’s a lot of eager anticipation and celebration!
Ganja Goddess Founder Tara Wells
I am thrilled that our new administration is taking a visionary and level headed approach to Cannabis. I foresee that nationwide legalization will be a reality in the next four years. I also predict that the insane pressure regarding keeping Cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug will be abandoned. This will ease the difficulty of banking in our industry, which will allow Cannabis to thrive like never before as an industry. The cannabis industry is in its infancy. With nationwide legalization, we can finally grow up and the world of cannabis will thrive in an unprecedented way. The potential tax base and job creation capacity is almost unimaginable, it is so big. I look forward to the embrace and support of this new, forward-thinking administration.
A November Gallup poll shows that public support for legal cannabis is at an all-time high, highlighting the steady incline of cannabis’ acceptance among Americans.
Given the ongoing pandemic and economic challenges we are facing, we don’t expect to see any immediate movement in Congress on cannabis. However, we do believe Biden and the Democratic-controlled Senate, which ultimately hold the fate of legalization in their hands, will make progress on several fronts.
Both the MORE and SAFE Banking Acts have real potential to better the lives of everyday Americans, businesses and the overall economy. SAFE Banking would open up capital and encourage more accredited investors to enter the space. As a result, the trickle-down effect would have a major impact on emerging cannabis markets, M&A opportunities and the expansion of brands from the West to East Coast.
We’re hopeful the Senate takes action on these bills during Biden’s first two years in office. If they do, it will not only help to further normalize the sector, but also assist with our economic recovery by opening up capital and overturning injustices that have been on the books for far too long.
Regardless of what route the Senate takes, cannabis’ entrance into the mainstream is coming, and that’s clear in the polling and economic growth we are seeing coming out of the sector.
Given the repercussions of COVID and economic fallout we’re in, cannabis likely won’t be a top priority for the Biden Administration right out of the gate, but that’s likely to change over time. Biden and Democrat-Congress bring promise for a set of new laws that markets nationwide.