The lower house of the U.S. Congress will vote on a cannabis legalization bill in September.
The vote does not yet have a specific date, but the Democratic whip urged his colleagues in a private email to pass the MORE law during the “September working session.”
MORE would remove the federal ban on cannabis, erase the records of those already 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 people incarcerated for cannabis offenses, protect immigrants from being denied citizenship for cannabis-related incidents, and prevent federal agencies from denying public benefits or security clearances because of cannabis use.
Less than two years ago, we released our plan outlining a path toward cannabis legalization in the 116th Congress,” said Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), a leading advocate for reform in Congress. Today, after many months of hard work and collaboration, we finally have a chance to put an end to the failed prohibition policy that has resulted in a long and shameful period of selective enforcement against people of color, especially Black people.
As people across the country protest racial injustices, it is even more urgent for Congress to seize this historic opportunity and finally bring our cannabis laws in line with what the majority of Americans support while ensuring restorative justice,” he said.
Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), a co-chair with Blumenauer is co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, said it was “extremely encouraging to see our House leaders move forward on this issue.
We are going through a difficult time in our struggle for racial equity and law enforcement reform, and the passage of MORE is critical to addressing our country’s history of injustice,” she said. “It is the next step in our goal to end the harmful ban on cannabis in 2021.
If the House of Representatives approves the bill, the Republican-controlled Senate must then vote. Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a strong supporter of hemp, but he has maintained steadfast opposition to broader cannabis reform.