The US legalisation movement took another big step forward last week, after lawmakers elected to reintroduce the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act to Congress, which would eliminate the federal ban on cannabis.

The bill was tabled by Democratic House Judiciary Committee chairman, Jerry Nadler, who previously introduced the legislation late last year. The MORE Act was then subsequently passed by the House of Representatives in December, although it was eventually left to languish by the-then Republican-controlled Senate.

However, the upper chambers of Congress are now controlled by the Democrats, and the MORE Act is likely to enjoy significant support from the likes of Senator Cory Booker and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who have both pledged to support cannabis legalisation efforts at the federal level.

​“Last year, we saw more progress toward cannabis legalisation than ever before. This has been driven by unprecedented reforms at the state level. Now, congress must deal with the problems created by the failed federal policy of prohibition,” Congressional Cannabis Caucus founder and co-chair Earl Blumenauer said.

“With a strong base of support in the House and in the Senate, the table is set. It’s past time that we stop federal interference with cannabis banking and research, as well as the terrible pattern of selective enforcement that has devastated communities of colour. The MORE Act will help address all of these problems and more.”

As a result, the ‘Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF’ (HMMJ) enjoyed a substantial gain last week, climbing from 9.31% to 21.61% on the six-month performance chart, while the Australian Cannabis Index fell to its lowest point in over a year, hitting -28.48% by close of trading Friday.

Image: The Green Fund

In contrast, the S&P 500 and Australia’s All Ordinaries both demonstrated steady growth, showing an increase of 15.55% and 8.91% compared to December 2020.

The Australian pharmaceutical developer, Creso Pharma (ASX:CPH), also announced last week that its target acquisition company, Halucenex Life Sciences, had made significant progress in its US market entry strategy by securing a consultancy agreement with HeteroGeneity.

The deal with see the company assist with the US rollout of Halucenex’s botanical psilocybin products and compounds, while also allowing for the pursuit of FDA approval and commencement of licensing discussions.

“Having centralised operations in Nova Scotia will provide Halucenex with considerable advantages when undertaking the steps required to progress regulatory approvals and potential discussions with large pharmaceutical groups for the licensing of the group’s psilocybin extracts and compounds,” Creso Pharma non-executive chairman Adam Blumenthal said.

The Green Fund’s Australian Cannabis Index allows investors to benchmark top players in the Aussie cannabis space against the S&P500, the AORD, and HMMJ, giving them an overview of the health of the industry Down Under.