US House of Representatives set to vote on the federal cannabis legalization bill in September.
The MORE law, for Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement, was introduced by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) last year and passed several committees in the following months.
Looking at the legislative calendar, we have little time to get this issue voted on in the House before the time runs out and, Congress is otherwise very busy,” said Queen Adesuyi of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).
This Congress made history by passing a bill for the cannabis industry,” said Adesuyi, referring to the passage of legislation on banking services for cannabis businesses. “It would be shameful for them, as one of the most progressive groups of elected officials in a long time, to end the year without addressing the victims of the war on drugs or the victims of the criminalization of cannabis. We need MORE law now.
MORE would remove the federal ban on cannabis, erase the criminal records of those previously convicted of cannabis and impose a 5% federal tax on sales, the proceeds of which would reinvest in communities most affected by the war on drugs.
It would also create an avenue of review for those incarcerated for cannabis offenses, protect immigrants from being denied citizenship for cannabis, and prevent federal agencies from denying public benefits or security clearances based on cannabis use.
If members of Congress approve MORE, the Republican-controlled Senate will also have to consider the bill. Majority leader Mitch McConnell is a strong advocate for hemp but has so far maintained an unwavering opposition to broader cannabis reforms. It would also be a risk for Democratic senators to vote for cannabis legalization so close to the November presidential elections when Joe Biden has not included the proposal in his platform.