MARIJUANA CRYSTAL BALL: What Lies Ahead for the Marijuana Market in 2021 and Beyond

By Reggie Snyder

In early 2020, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, marijuana reform efforts were making stable development on Capitol Hill. By all unbiased metrics, 2020 was at first forming up to be a banner year for the marijuana market at the federal and state level. Nevertheless, after the coronavirus spread quickly throughout the nation, cannabis-related legislation was mainly neglected or overlooked completely as Congress and the country come to grips with the destructive impacts of this brand-new public health crisis.

In addition to the break out of an international pandemic, 2020 was likewise an incredibly considerable election year. Democrat and previous Vice-President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. was formally called the 46 th President of the United States after beating incumbent Republican politician President Donald J. Trump. The Democratic celebration, which currently had control of the U.S. Legislature, won control of the Senate after protecting triumphes in 2 overflow races in Georgia. So, heading into 2021, Democrats will manage the U.S. presidency and both homes of Congress.

Due to the fact that the coronavirus still pesters the country, presenting and passing cannabis-related legislation most likely will not be a leading concern on either President-elect Biden’s or Congress’ legal program. To the contrary, Biden and Congress will probably focus the majority of their preliminary legal efforts on managing the spread of the infection and dealing with the remaining financial chaos and obstacles brought on by the infection. Hence, cannabis-related legislation most likely will not be presented for a vote in the Senate for numerous months, unless the legislation belongs to a bigger legal bundle.

This short article talks about the different cannabis-related legislation that the Democrat-controlled Congress might think about in 2021. It likewise talks about how the basic shift in political power on Capitol Hill impacts Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY), the bulk leader of the Senate, capability to present cannabis-related legislation in the Senate for a vote, and how Vice President-elect Harris’ tie-breaking authority as the president of the Senate will likely impact the result of any such vote.[1]

The short article likewise discusses that, as the federal and state federal governments start to acquire control of the spread of the coronavirus, the Democrat-controlled Congress will likely concentrate on, to name a few things, presenting existing cannabis-related legislation (i.e., (1) the “Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act”; (2) the “Enhancing the Tenth Modification Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act”; (3) the “Veterans Medical Cannabis Safe Harbor Act”; and (4) the “Cannabis Chance, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019″), for a vote in the Senate.

Eventually, the short article forecasts that, in 2021 or early 2022, Sen. Schumer will present several existing cannabis-related expenses (most likely a minimum of the SAFE Banking Act and the MORE Act) for a vote in the Senate. It likewise discusses why, in spite of the reality that Democrats have a bulk in the Senate, Democratic legislators will still likely require to convince a minimum of 10 Republican Senators to support it to prevent having actually the expense beat by filibuster. And, the short article discusses why President-elect Joe Biden will likely sign any cannabis-related legislation that passes the Senate into law.


Marijuana Banking Legislation: Potential customers for passing legislation that would make it much easier for cannabis companies to gain access to banking services increase substantially with Democrats in control of the Senate.[2] The SAFE Banking Act takes pleasure in broad bipartisan assistance: It passed your home with assistance from almost half of the chamber’s Republican politicians on board, and 5 GOP senators co-sponsored the expense in the last Congress.[3] However, previous Republican politician senate bulk leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) unwillingness to bring any cannabis expenses to the flooring for a vote hamstrung its capability to advance.[4]

Cannabis Legalization: The most significant enigma is whether the Democrat-controlled Senate can pass detailed modifications to federal cannabis policy, consisting of eliminating federal charges around cannabis usage and belongings, controling a brand-new market and expunging previous marijuana-related rap sheets.[5] Sen. Schumer has actually formerly guaranteed that a Democratic-controlled chamber will attempt to pass sweeping modifications.[6] In this regard, Sen. Schumer has actually made legalization part of his criminal justice reform concerns.[7] Your home has actually currently passed the MORE Act, which would get rid of federal charges and expunge records.[8] The Democrat-controlled Senate is anticipated to bring the MORE Act up once again in the 117th Congress.[9]

Medical Cannabis Research Study: This cannabis-related legislation has the broadest assistance, and expenses broadening marijuana research study passed both the Senate and Home all in 2015.[10] That implies the concern was most likely to acquire traction no matter which celebration wound up with control of the Senate, though it is not likely to be a top priority for either celebration.[11] The legislation likewise might end up being moot through executive branch modifications– the Veterans Affairs and Justice departments currently can broaden research study without an act of Congress.[12]

Secret Committees and Legislators: With Democrats in control of the Senate, a bulk of committee chairs will remain in the hands of legislators from states with legal leisure cannabis— consisting of Senators from Oregon and Illinois, and both Senators from Washington state, Michigan and Vermont.[13]

A crucial committee will be the Senate Financing Committee where the MORE Act was referred in the last Congress.[14] It likely will be chaired by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who stated in 2020 that legislating marijuana and figuring out tax and guideline of the market will be on his program over the next year.[15]

A crucial legislator is Sen. Cock Durbin of Illinois, who won a quote to change California Sen. Dianne Feinstein as the leading Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.[16] That Committee might play a considerable function in efforts to pass detailed modifications to federal marijuana policy.[17]


Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, a Democrat, will now command Senate considerations as the president of the Senate.[18] In this function, she will have the duty of casting the tie-breaking vote on any legislation in which the Senate votes are equally divided, which is a really genuine possibility provided the present 50-50 Democrat to Republican politician makeup of the Senate.[19] Vice President-elect Harris’ tie-breaking power successfully offers Democrats control of the Senate for the very first time given that 2014.[20] Democrats will likewise manage the committees, the legislation, and elections that are given the Senate flooring– a power that formerly came from Republican politician Senate bulk leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).[21]

Vice President-elect Harris’ tie-breaking authority will likely be a crucial benefit for Democrats as they present cannabis-related legislation in the Senate. It is a popular reality that she highly supports cannabis legalization.[22] She was the lead sponsor in the Senate of the MORE Act, an expense that Sen. Schumer likewise sponsored.[23] She was likewise among the initial co-sponsors of Senator Cory Booker’s Cannabis Justice Act, the very first legalization expense that tried to frame legalization in the more comprehensive context of racial and social justice.[24] She not just signed on to the legislation, however she openly campaigned for its passage and ended up being an outspoken advocate in the media.[25] She was likewise a champ of the marijuana market throughout her period in the Senate, a lot of plainly as a co-sponsor of the SAFE Banking Act.[26] In early 2020, she urged Senate leaders to permit marijuana companies to be qualified for crucial coronavirus relief financing offered to a lot of small companies throughout the pandemic, even utilizing her social networks existence in assistance of the step and highlighting that marijuana companies use 240,000 Americans whose incomes depend upon these tasks.[27]

In addition to Vice President-elect Harris, Sen. Schumer, the Democratic celebration bulk leader of the Senate, likewise highly supports cannabis legalization. He was the primary sponsor of the MORE Act.[28] He has actually likewise discussed marijuana reform for numerous years, and throughout 2020, he raised the concern often.[29] He likewise tweeted about the concern numerous times, and he hosted Facebook live discussions with legislators, consisting of Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), about legislating cannabis.[30] Due to the fact that Sen. Schumer gets to choose which pieces of legislation get presented for vote in the Senate, he probably will present cannabis-related legislation for vote, most likely consisting of the MORE Act (the legislation he personally sponsored) and the STATES Act. Undoubtedly, in October 2020, he boldly specified that he will put his own de-scheduling expense “in play” which “I believe we’ll have a great chance to pass it.”[31]

Offered the combined strength and assistance of Vice President-elect Harris and Sen. Schumer, it is extremely most likely that cannabis-related legislation will be presented in the Senate for a vote in either 2021, or in early 2022. Whether they will have the ability to protect adequate votes from their Republican equivalents in the Senate to prevent a filibuster will likely identify whether the proposed legislation is passed.


Even with a Democrat-controlled Senate, protecting the votes essential to pass cannabis-related legislation in the Senate will still likely be hard.[32] The Senate cloture guideline needs 60 members to end dispute on a lot of subjects and relocate to a vote.[33] While Senate guidelines still need simply a basic bulk (51 votes) to really pass an expense, numerous procedural actions along the method need a supermajority of 60 votes to end dispute on expenses.[34]

In the Senate, it will likely need 60 votes to move any cannabis-related legislation, suggesting there will require to be considerable buy-in from Republicans.[35] Moderate Democrats such as Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia are not ensured allies, and pro-legalization Republican politicians can’t be relied on to elect an expense as progressive as the MORE Act.[36] Simply 5 Republicans backed the expense in your home.[37]

A. What is a Cloture Movement in the Senate?

Senators have 2 choices when they look for to vote on a step or movement.[38] Frequently, the bulk leader (or another senator) looks for “consentaneous permission,” asking if any of the 100 senators challenge ending dispute and relocating to a vote.[39] If no objection is heard, the Senate continues to a vote.[40] If the bulk leader can’t protect the permission of all 100 senators, the leader (or another senator) generally submits a cloture movement, which then needs 60 votes to embrace.[41] If less than 60 senators– a supermajority of the chamber– assistance cloture, that’s when we typically state that a step has actually been filibustered.[42]

IV. Can the Democrat-Controlled Senate Usage the “Nuclear Alternative” to End Filibuster Disputes on Cannabis-Related Legislation?

The “nuclear alternative” is a parliamentary treatment that permits the Senate to bypass a standing guideline of the Senate, such as the 60-vote guideline to close dispute, by a basic bulk of 51 votes, instead of the two-thirds supermajority usually needed to change the guidelines.[43] The alternative is conjured up when the bulk leader raises a point of order that contravenes a standing guideline, such as that just a basic bulk is required to close dispute on specific matters.[44] The administering officer rejects the point of order based upon Senate guidelines, however the judgment of the chair is then appealed and reversed by bulk vote, developing brand-new precedent.[45]

This treatment utilizes Guideline XX to permit the Senate to choose any concern by easy bulk vote, no matter Guideline XXII, which needs the permission of 60 senators (out of 100) to end a filibuster for legislation and 67 for modifying a Senate guideline.[46]

In November 2013, Senate Democrats, led by Harry Reid, utilized the nuclear alternative to get rid of the 60-vote guideline on executive branch elections and federal judicial consultations.[47] In April 2017, Senate Republicans led by Mitch McConnell extended the nuclear alternative to Supreme Court elections in order to end dispute on the election of Neil Gorsuch.[48]

Nevertheless, since January 2021, a three-fifths bulk vote is still needed to end arguments on legislation.[49] So, Senate Democrats will still likely require to encourage a minimum of 10 Republican Senators to settle on legislation to prevent or end a filibuster and get the expense passed.


While on the project path, President-elect Biden stated that his administration will pursue cannabis decriminalization and expungements for individuals with previous marijuana convictions.[50] He likewise stated that he prefers legislating medical marijuana (rather than leisure marijuana), decently rescheduling cannabis under the federal Controlled Substances Act, and letting states set their own policies concerning controling the marijuana market within their particular borders without federal intervention.[51]

It is likewise crucial to keep in mind that President-elect Biden will be signed up with by Vice President-elect Harris when he gets in the Oval Workplace, and as talked about above, she is a strong advocate of cannabis legalization. After being picked by President-elect Biden to work as his Vice President, Harris stated she struck a “offer” with Biden that she would be permitted to openly share her viewpoint on a variety of progressive policies he presently opposes, consisting of legislating cannabis, however she hasn’t suggested that she would proactively press him because instructions.[52]

So, it a minimum of appears that President-elect Biden is helpful of cannabis reform and would a minimum of seriously think about signing cannabis-related legislation that passes the Senate, especially the STATES Act and the MORE Act. And, provided Vice President-elect Harris’ and Sen. Schumer’s strong assistance of cannabis legalization, the chances are that President-elect Biden would sign any such expense into law.


What was set to be a banner year for the marijuana market on both the federal and state level in early 2020 was significantly interrupted and decreased by the coronavirus pandemic, across the country demonstrations for equality and social justice, and the 2020 governmental election. In 2021, cannabis reform most likely will not take place right away. President-elect Biden and Congress will probably focus the majority of their preliminary legal efforts on attempting to manage the spread of the infection and on dealing with the remaining financial chaos and obstacles brought on by the infection. Appropriately, it will likely be months prior to any cannabis-related legal propositions buckle down factor to consider in the Senate, unless they belong to a bigger bundle.

Nevertheless, the bright side is that, with the Democrats in control of the U.S. Presidency and both homes of Congress, cannabis reform at the federal level is closer than ever to coming true. Cannabis-related legislation for that reason will certainly restore its preliminary momentum in the Senate, which will cause the intro and passage of several cannabis-related expenses. Undoubtedly, Sen. Schumer will likely present the SAFE Act (which was sponsored by Vice President-elect Harris) and the MORE Act (which he sponsored personally) for a vote in the Senate.

In the Senate, Sen. Schumer, in his function as bulk leader of the Senate, has the power to choose which expenses will be presented for vote, consisting of cannabis-related legislation. And, Vice President-elect Harris, in her function as the president of the Democrat-controlled Senate, has the power to break any tie vote which, when it comes to cannabis-related legislation, she would likely constantly break any such tie by voting in favor of passing the expense.

Senate Republicans, nevertheless, still have the alternative of filibustering any cannabis-related legislation that Sen. Schumer presents. To avoid Senate Republicans from using this technique, Senate Democrats will require to convince a minimum of 10 of their Republican coworkers to authorize the expense. That will likely be a high order provided the present political stress in between members of the 2 celebrations in Congress, however it’s not totally outside the world of possibility. For example, throughout the 2020 election, citizens in numerous Republican and swing states authorized cannabis-related tally steps on Election Day. Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the celebration’s whip, now represents constituents in South Dakota who voted to legislate both leisure and medical cannabis by strong margins.[53]

At some point this year, or in early 2022, I anticipate that Sen. Schumer will present the SAFE Banking Act and/or the MORE Act in the Senate for a vote. If the expense made it to a complete Senate vote, the vote would likely be divided nearly entirely down celebration lines with the 50 Democrat Senators ballot in favor of the expense, and the 50 Republican Senators voting versus. Vice President-elect Harris would then break the tie vote by voting in favor of the expense. Nevertheless, prior to a complete Senate vote even takes place, several of the Republican politician Senators, likely led by minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), will likely filibuster the expense up until it passes away. Hence, the decision of whether any cannabis-related legislation ever passes the Senate will mainly depend upon whether Democrats have the ability to convince a minimum of 10 Republican Senators to support to expense to prevent having actually the expense beat by a filibuster.

If the legislation ever passes the Senate, I anticipate that President-elect Biden will sign it into law, which will really be a watershed minute for the marijuana market that I think will eventually benefit the whole nation.

Reggie Snyder is a partner in the Atlanta workplace of Taylor English Duma LLP. Snyder is a knowledgeable trial legal representative with more than twenty years of experience handling a wide variety of lawsuits matters for customers in Alabama, Georgia and Texas

[1] Previous Senate bulk leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) consistently declined to present the huge bulk of cannabis-related legislation for a vote, aside from the periodic expense associated with marijuana research study.

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] Id.

[11] Id.

[12] Id.

[13] Id.

[14] Id.

[15] Id.

[16] Id.

[17] Id.

[18] Id.

[19] Id.

[20] Id.

[21] Id.

[22] See

[23] Id.

[24] Id.

[25] Id.

[26] Id.

[27] Id.

[28] See

[29] Id.

[30] Id.

[31] See

[32] Id.

[33] See

[34] Id.

[35] See

[36] Id. Sadly, the most singing GOP supporter for cannabis reform in the Senate, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), lost his reelection quote in 2020.

[37] Id.

[38] See

[39] Id.

[40] Id.

[41] Id.

[42] Id.

[43] See (The term “nuclear alternative” is an example to nuclear weapons being the most severe alternative in warfare.)

[44] Id.

[45] Id.

[46] Id.

[47] Id.

[48] Id.

[49] Id.

[50] See

[51] Id.

[52] Id.

[53] Id.

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