Progress Pending: The U.S cannabis industry post elections and what it means for N.Z

The United States could see a progressive shift in the marijuana industry following news that President-elect Joe Biden has selected Merrick Garland as his nominee for U.S. attorney general.

Garland was put forward for a Supreme Court seat by former President Barack Obama in 2016 but the nomination was thwarted by Senate Republicans who have upheld a strong anti-cannabis stance throughout Trump’s term in office.

The potential new appointment could bring forward a stark contrast to the past and current hostility surrounding the cannabis industry in the United States.

Garland, currently the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington DC, has reportedly beat out several other contenders to head up the U.S. Department of Justice, which holds a major influence over the marijuana sector.

“Federally legal cannabis in America could be a boom for New Zealand’s cannabis industry” says NUBU’s CEO Mark Dye "As it would open up a new market for New Zealand made cannabis products. And given the number of companies expressing interest in the sector locally, the more export markets available, the better.

But the U.S wouldn’t be just “another market” says Dye.

“If you think that various states in America have had some form of cannabis legalisation since the mid 90’s, access to America would mean access to an incredibly mature market.”

Following this news, many within the cannabis industry will be wondering what Garland’s approach to the legal marijuana sector will look like and how it could potentially impact accessibility for end consumers.

Biden’s vow to support some level of federal marijuana reform suggests that his decision to appoint Garland aligns with this promise, however several cannabis industry insiders are waiting on Garland to make his stance on cannabis clear.

Morgan Fox, a spokesperson for the National Cannabis Industry Association in the United States wrote in a statement emailed to Marijuana Business Daily “Merrick Garland’s position on cannabis is somewhat of an unknown, though in the past he has given fair consideration to the science involved in cannabis policy”

Fox added “We will be working with allies on the Hill to pose questions during the nomination process to shed more light on where he stands.”

However, the odds for federal reform are looking likely following the 2020 elections with the pending appointment of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris who was the primary Senate sponsor of the MORE Act to legalise cannabis.