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Cannabis Summary for May 13, 2021

2021-05-13 20:23 ET - Market Summary

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by Stockwatch Business Reporter

The S&P/TSX Cannabis Index lost 6.54 to 174.27, while the CSE Composite Index lost 26.10 to 759.16. South of the border, the U.S. cannabis story took another twist. Two Republican congressmen have introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to end the federal ban on cannabis, beating the Democrats to the punch.

The new bill is entitled the Common Sense Cannabis Reform for Veterans, Small Businesses and Medical Professionals Act. Among other things, it proposes descheduling cannabis -- removing it from the Controlled Substances Act list -- which goes even further than some of the reforms supported by President Joe Biden. The President favours rescheduling cannabis, or moving it to a less restrictive part of the list. (This would facilitate cannabis research but would not remove federal criminal penalties or allow cannabis companies to use traditional banking services.)

The cynics in the cannabis crowd are viewing the bill as a bit of political gamesmanship more than anything else. Parts of the bill are old ground; for example, the House previously passed the MORE Act (which also proposed descheduling cannabis) in 2020. It did not advance in the then-Republican controlled Senate. Although Democrats now control both chambers of Congress and could reintroduce the MORE Act, it is still unlikely to make much headway, because Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is working on his own, more far-reaching reform bill. His bill -- which would also go far beyond Mr. Biden's preferences, but Mr. Schumer is confident he can bring the President around -- will include not just legalization but also social justice provisions (such as expunging the records of people previously convicted of cannabis-related crimes). Mr. Schumer has been vowing for months to introduce this bill "soon." He has also said he is not interested in piecemeal reform because this could jeopardize the push for comprehensive legalization.

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