The House of Representatives attempted to pass cannabis reforms this month by attaching riders to spending legislation for fiscal 2020—only to see them get summarily shut down in the Senate.
The riders would have prevented the federal government from interfering with legal cannabis companies and eased their access to U.S. banking services, among other things the industry has said it needs to function properly.
Instead, cannabis businesses––which are fully legal in 11 states to date––will continue to face onerous levels of red tape and uncertainty well into 2020, despite their rapidly growing size and popularity among U.S. consumers.
One of the most significant riders to the spending package would have prevented the U.S. Justice Department from using taxpayer dollars to stop states and territories from implementing their own laws authorizing possession, distribution or cultivation of marijuana. That rider was tossed in favor of a long-standing one that protects only medical marijuana.