The House of Representatives will soon vote on the decriminalization of marijuana at the federal level. U.S. House Democrats confirmed they will take up the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act this month.
If voted in favor of the MORE Act, marijuana would be removed from the Controlled Substance Act and prior marijuana-related convictions and arrests would be required to be expunged by federal courts. The bill would also “ensure that legal cannabis dispensaries are not the only beneficiaries of marijuana legalization,” Common Dreams reported.
“Passage of the MORE Act is essential in order to truly right the wrongs of federal marijuana criminalization, and to once and for all allow the majority of states that have legalized cannabis for either medical or adult-use to embrace these policies free from the threat of undue federal prosecution or interference,” Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), said.
Sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) with an additional 93 co-sponsors in the House, the planned vote is being called “historic” as activists credit public opinion regarding marijuana legalization as being “far ahead of many powerful lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden,” Queen Adesuyi, a policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), said.
A recent poll conducted by Data for Progress found 69% of Democrats, 41% of independents and 54% of Republicans are in favor of the use and sale of marijuana to be legal at the federal level.
“When we think about victories and history, I would say that the passage of the MORE act…a bill that actually deschedules marijuana and addresses the harms to communities most adversely affected, is absolutely history,” Adesuyi said.
With both Democratic and Republican lawmakers confirmed backers of the MORE Act, “advocates are hopeful that real marijuana reform benefiting those most affected by the War on Drugs could be around the corner,” Common Dreams reported.
“This bill meets the political moment, and it also happens to be an incredibly bipartisan opportunity,” Adesuyi said.