How the MORE Act Affects Marijuana Packaging
More than two-thirds of Americans say marijuana should be legal to use, and 91% believe that to include medical and recreational activities. The fact is the United States is primed for a change more now than ever before. That is why the recent news about the MORE Act making its way through Congress is exciting to hear about, especially for a company like ours focused on cannabis packaging design for compliance.
What is the MORE Act?
The MORE Act stands for the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. It was previously shot down in December of 2020 by the Senate and then reintroduced by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) in late May of 2021.
On Friday, April 1, 2022, the MORE Act was passed in Congress by a vote of 220-204 in favor. Three Republicans voted to support the bill, while two Democrats voted against it.
In essence, this act would remove cannabis from the list of drugs regulated by the Controlled Substances Act. This means federal cannabis offenses would be eliminated, and those suffering from previous criminal convictions would see their records expunged.
The MORE Act also establishes a tax on retail sales (no surprise there) and includes some socio-economic measures to help those who have been affected the most during the federal cannabis prohibition policy enforcement.
All in all, this is a highly beneficial bill that will improve the lives of Americans all over the country, help dispensaries and custom cannabis packaging businesses access federal financial resources, and get a significant portion of the prison population back out as contributing members of society.
What is Going to Happen Next?
Even though there are a lot of positive benefits that can come from the implementation of the MORE Act, there are still a few hurdles to overcome. There are competing decriminalization bills by opposing Democrats and Republicans. Even if this bill was perfect, when politicians are not given a chance to showcase their bills, they tend to vote down others that are similar.
That is not good news for the upcoming Senate debate and vote. For the MORE Act to pass the Senate, it will need at least 10 Republican supporters. Again, most of the country is perfectly fine with legalizing marijuana, but anything that seems soft on crime or in support of public service programs may make Republicans flinch because their party’s talking points tend to shy away from even the slightest hint of a handout.
Still, there is hope. Since 2012, 18 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana for adults over 21, and 38 states have legalized medical marijuana. That is a considerable amount of the population reaping the financial, health, and policing benefits of decriminalizing cannabis-related products. That places a lot of pressure on senators from their constituents.
As of right now, we do not know if President Biden would sign the MORE Act into law. More likely, we would see this be tabled until after the midterm elections, but the fact that it has made it through Congress is a good indication that we are not too far from a change.
How Will the MORE Act Benefit the Marijuana Packaging Industry?
The major challenge facing companies like ours doing our best to implement child-resistant packaging and any other safety measures is at the state level. We are faced with various state compliance issues with wholesale custom cannabis packaging that changes depending on where you live and to whom you are shipping the product.
With the MORE Act, marijuana will be decriminalized at the federal level, meaning the various marijuana packaging requirements come under a single umbrella. Instead of threading a needle through all the different state loopholes, there will be one resounding notice that this is no longer a controlled substance, and regulation can loosen up.
Of course, marijuana would still be only allowed for those over 21 years of age, so there will be some labeling requirements and minor issues with wholesale pre-roll custom cannabis packaging, but probably more aligned with how we treat alcohol or tobacco products.
Not only will that save custom cannabis packaging companies money, but it also takes the stress of adhering to many different laws off the table and makes it easier to hire new people to get the work completed.
Where Do We Go From Here?
We at MSN Packaging Inc. will be keeping a close eye on the MORE Act as it makes its way from Congress to the Senate for consideration. You can expect there will be a heavy debate on this issue and probably some adjustments to health warnings on labels and how businesses will be regulated. Like most laws that are passed, it usually comes down to control, regulation, and financial benefit.
However, we remain optimistic that a fundamental change is just around the corner, and the possibility of shipping highly beneficial products to our customers will become significantly easier once our political leaders recognize the will of the people.