The proposed federal legalization of cannabis in the United States will come to a vote in the House of Representatives this week.
House Majority House Leader, Democrat Steny Hoyer, said the House would vote on the MORE bill between Wednesday and Friday.
Voting had previously been announced to take place by the end of the year delayed due to the coronavirus.
The bill will first go to the House rules committee, which develops the draft for a vote in the legislature. Then decides what amendments might stand before it is considered by the legislature as a whole.
I have been working on this issue longer than any politician in America, and I can say with confidence that MORE is the most comprehensive federal cannabis reform law in U.S. history,” said Representative Earl Blumenauer. Our vote to pass it next week will come after people from five very different states reaffirmed strong bipartisan support for reforming the failed cannabis ban. National support for federal legalization of cannabis is at an all-time high, and nearly 99% of Americans will soon live in states with some form of legal cannabis.
Congress must capitalize on this momentum and do our part to end the failed ban policy that has resulted in a long and shameful period of selective application against communities of color, he said.
As currently drafted, MORE would remove cannabis from the list of federally controlled substances, erase the records of those previously convicted of cannabis, and impose a 5% federal sales tax, the proceeds of which would be reinvested in communities most affected by the war on drugs.
The bill would also create an escape route for people incarcerated for cannabis offenses, protect immigrants from being denied citizenship for cannabis, and prevent federal agencies from denying public benefits or security clearances because of its use.
All of these provisions are subject to change through amendments in the coming week.
If the bill is passed by the House, under Democratic oversight, it will still have to be followed by the Senate. Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell, a strong supporter of hemp, is more closed on cannabis.
A House vote in favor of legalization, however, would send a strong signal to the new Biden administration.