Welcome to our first installment of Watching the Pot™, which will provide summaries on recent buzz-worthy cannabis information, including decisions, legislation, news, and cases in the cannabis space which you may want to track. This month’s focus is on potentially trailblazing legislation.

  • H.R. 3884: The U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 3884 – The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2020 (“MORE Act of 2020”) – on December 4, 2020. If this bill passes, it will decriminalize marijuana at the federal level by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”). The bill is now in the hands of the Republican-held Senate. If passed, the bill would decriminalize the manufacture, distribution and possession of marijuana. Some additional changes include the creation of a trust fund which will be used to provide aid to individuals and businesses in communities impacted by the war on drugs, and a 5% tax imposed on cannabis products, which will help finance the trust fund. For brands in the cannabis space, it would mean that manufacturers and sellers of cannabis products should be able to federally register their marks for cannabis goods/services that previously violated the CSA. However, under the current legal landscape, consumable CBD-ingredient products and drugs would still be regulated under the FDC&A, meaning that marks for those products would still not be eligible for registration with the USPTO until the underlying products receive FDA approval.
  • H.R. 3797: The Medical Marijuana Research Act – Members of the House are projected to hold a floor vote on this bill which seeks to facilitate federally-approved clinical trials involving cannabis. This Act would require licensing of additional manufacturers, bringing an end to the University of Mississippi’s monopoly on cannabis growth for this purpose.
  • H.R. 8179: The Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2020 was introduced to the House on September 4, 2020. If enacted, this bill would remove hemp, hemp-derived CBD, and other hemp extracts from the federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, which currently prohibits the sale and marketing of CBD, and food, beverages, and nutritional supplements that contain CBD as an active ingredient. CBD was approved this summer as a drug ingredient in the epilepsy drug, Epidiolex®.

This article appeared in the December 2020 issue of MarkIt to Market®. To view our past issues, as well as other firm newsletters, please click here.