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Federal cannabis reform talks gaining momentum, Congressman says

WASHINGTON, DC, USA

Even as the cannabis industry grapples with the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, federal cannabis reform talks remain stronger, according to Congressman Earl Blumenauer. In a recent Livestream discussion, the Oregon Democrat said marijuana reform efforts are becoming more dynamic than they’ve done in the past. 

We have our work cut out for us, but we have more momentum in the cannabis space than I’ve seen in the over 30 years I’ve been working on this issue. We are in a stronger position than we’ve ever been. The performance of advocates and the industry is very, very strong and most important, people want this, Blumenauer said. 

Reform likely to pass in the House of Representatives

Expressing confidence in how cannabis legalization talks are proceeding, the Oregon representative said that a large section of cannabis reform is likely to pass in the House of Representatives when it reconvenes. Part of the reform seeks to loosen federal restrictions that prohibit banks from offering services to cannabis businesses. 

A number of Republican senators find themselves in competitive reelection campaigns this fall…State legal cannabis has proven to be an area where you can get bipartisan support. It’ll motivate voters… And if we can break some of these pieces of legislation through, they will pass the House, and I think set the stage for some action in the Senate, Blumenauer stated.

COVID-related legislation still a priority

However, things might not go on smoothly amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Karen O’Keefe is director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. From where she sits, marijuana legislation policy might slow down as COVID-related legislation takes priority. Speaking during a webcast recently, she said:

We thought it would be a record year that we’d have more both legalization states and total medical marijuana states than ever before. That, of course, has slowed down. We saw a lot of legislative sessions ground to a halt and start working only on COVID, O’Keefe said.

All the same, the wind of cannabis legalization is already blowing across the globe. Two days ago, the Israeli government finally approved the export of locally grown medical marijuana products. 

As The Jerusalem Post earlier reported, the outgoing Economy Minister Eli Cohen signed the free export order on Wednesday, more than one year since the country allowed exports of locally grown medical marijuana for the first time. Cohen said the development was “a significant step for exporters and Israeli industry,” as it aims to expand export opportunities and create employment. 

The free export order, which takes effect in 30 days from the date of signing, will enable cannabis producers to export their products at will. All they need is to get a license from the Health Ministry. Israel currently allows trading of medical cannabis at a local level. However, adult-use of marijuana remains illegal in the country.

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