Congressional Committee Approves Federal Cannabis Legalization Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee voted to advance the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, a bill that would federally legalize cannabis.
Sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the MORE Act is a comprehensive federal cannabis reform bill that contains strong social equity provisions with an emphasis on restorative justice for communities most impacted by cannabis prohibition.
“We’re encouraged to see that the MORE Act is once again advancing in the U.S. House of Representatives,” said Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “We cannot achieve meaningful and lasting criminal justice reform in our country without ending the war on cannabis. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have the opportunity and responsibility to come together and pass legislation to finally put an end to the decades-long failure that is federal cannabis prohibition.
“States across the country have taken the lead on cannabis legalization, and now it is time for Congress to pass federal reform, a policy that is supported by a strong majority of Americans.”
About the MORE Act
If enacted into law, the MORE Act would: remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act; require federal courts to expunge prior cannabis-related convictions and provide for resentencing; provide grants and funding to communities most harmed by the war on cannabis; lift barriers to licensing and employment in the cannabis industry; protect immigrants from being denied citizenship over cannabis; and allow VA physicians to recommend medical cannabis to veterans. In 2020, the MORE Act was passed by the House, but it did not advance in the Senate.
Earlier this year, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Ron Wyden (R-OR), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced a draft version of an alternative cannabis legalization bill, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. The final text of the bill has yet to be formally introduced.
According to the latest Gallup poll, 68% of Americans support cannabis legalization. To date, 19 states have legalized marijuana for adults 21 and over, and 36 states have legalized medical marijuana.
What the MORE Act Does: The legislation’s provisions remove cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act — thereby eliminating the existing conflict between state and federal cannabis laws and providing states with the authority to be the primary arbiters of cannabis policy within their jurisdictions.
FURTHER: The MORE Act would also make several other important changes to federal cannabis policy, including:
- Facilitating the expungement of low-level federal cannabis convictions, and incentivizing state and local governments to take similar actions;
- Creating pathways for ownership opportunities in the emerging regulated industry as well as other sectors of the economy for local and diversely-reflective entrepreneurs who have been impacted under prohibition through the Small Business Administration grant eligibility;
- Allowing veterans, for the first time, to obtain medical cannabis recommendations from their VA doctors;
- Removing the threat of deportation for immigrants accused of minor cannabis infractions or who are gainfully employed in the state-legal cannabis industry;
- Providing critical reinvestment grant opportunities for communities that have suffered disproportionate rates of cannabis-related enforcement actions.
Source: Marijuana Policy Project