Marijuana Reclassification Odds Remain Long Because of US Senate Opposition

Posted on: April 4, 2022, 10:21h. 

Last updated on: April 4, 2022, 12:11h.

Marijuana legalization advocates scored a major victory last week, with the US House of Representatives voting to decriminalize cannabis on the federal level. But bettors aren’t high on the prospects of the Senate following suit.

marijuana reclassification MORE Act cannabis weed
The US House of Representatives has voted to decriminalize cannabis. But the odds are long that the Senate will do so, too. Political bettors give the higher chamber slim odds of passing the marijuana act. (Image: Leafly)

The House on Friday voted 220-204 in favor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act — or MORE Act. The federal statute seeks to remove cannabis from the list of scheduled narcotics in the Controlled Substances Act. The measure would also prevent anyone who possesses, distributes, or manufacturers marijuana from being subject to federal criminal charges.

Cannabis remains classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic, the same classification as heroin. Schedule 1 drugs are considered by the federal government to have no valid medicinal use and come with a high potential for addiction and abuse.

For far too long, we have treated marijuana as a criminal justice problem instead of as a matter of personal choice and public health,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the chief sponsor of the bill.

“If states are the laboratories of democracy, it is long past time for the federal government to recognize that legalization has been a resounding success and the conflict with federal law has become untenable,” Nadler added.

Bill Likely Up in Smoke

The MORE Act isn’t expected to gain more congressional support now that it has moved to the Senate. The 50 Republicans in the upper chamber are predicted to hinder the marijuana bill from moving to President Joe Biden’s desk.

Of the 220 House representatives who backed the MORE Act, only three Republicans supported Reps. Matt Gaetz and Brian Mast of Florida and California’s Tom McClintock.

PredictIt bettors wagering money on the legislative outcome give the MORE Act little chance of passing. The political exchange’s market asked, “Will marijuana be rescheduled under the Controlled Substances Act in 2022?” It has “Yes” shares trading at just 14 cents.

Last week, the House passage caused some bullishness behind those “Yes” shares. The momentum, however, was short-lived, as share prices have since retreated.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) — the top Republican in the House Judiciary Committee — expressed his disdain for House Democrats moving cannabis decriminalization forward.

“Record crime, record inflation, record gas prices, record number of illegal immigrants crossing our southern border, and what are Democrats doing? Legalizing drugs. Legalizing drugs and using American tax dollars to kick start and prop up the marijuana industry,” Jordan said. “Wow.”

Marijuana Moves Closer to Casinos

Until cannabis is removed as a Schedule 1 narcotic, commercial casinos across the US will stay clear of any involvement with the marijuana industry. But in Nevada — specifically Las Vegas — legal weed has become another major attraction.

Nevada has both medicinal and recreational legal marijuana. The state passed a consumption law last year to allow businesses to become licensed to allow on-site consumption, which is currently reserved for private residences.

The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board plans to grant its first consumption lounge licenses before 2023.