In a 24-10 vote, the House Judiciary Committee approved the MORE Act that would effectively end marijuana prohibition on Wednesday. This is the first time that a congressional committee has approved a bill to make cannabis legal.
“Today’s vote marks a turning point for federal cannabis policy, and is truly a sign that prohibition’s days are numbered,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). “Thanks to the diligent efforts of advocates and lawmakers from across the political spectrum, we’ve seen more progress in this Congress than ever before. Supermajority public support for legalization, increasing recognition of the devastating impacts of prohibition on marginalized communities and people of color, and the undeniable success of state cannabis programs throughout the country are all helping to build momentum for comprehensive change in the foreseeable future.”
The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act was sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and would federally decriminalize and deschedule cannabis. In addition to that, the MORE Act contains strong social equity provisions with an emphasis on restorative justice for communities most impacted by cannabis prohibition.
“This committee vote is a historic step forward for cannabis policy reform at the federal level,” said Cannabis Trade Federation CEO Neal Levine. “The MORE Act would ensure cannabis consumers and businesses are treated fairly under the law. It would also bolster state and industry efforts to promote diversity within the cannabis business community, while helping communities and individuals adversely impacted by the war on drugs. A solid majority of Americans support ending cannabis prohibition, and we’re finally seeing that reflected in a vote on Capitol Hill.”
“These votes demonstrate the broad bipartisan support that exists in Congress for allowing states to determine their own cannabis policies,” Levine said. “There appears to be a consensus among both parties that the conflict between state and federal cannabis laws is untenable and needs to be resolved. We encourage our allies in the Democratic and Republican parties come together to find a bipartisan path forward and pass a law this Congress.”
Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno said, “With today’s mark-up of the MORE Act, the United States is coming one step closer to ending the devastating harms of marijuana prohibition, which have fallen so heavily on Black and Brown people. This legislation won’t make up for the full scale of harm that prohibition has caused to its victims. It’s not going to return anyone their lost dreams, time lost at the mercy of the criminal justice system; or the years spent away from their families. But this legislation is the closest we’ve come yet to not only ending those harms at the federal level, but also beginning to repair them. Now it’s up to Congress to do the right thing and swiftly pass the bill to ensure justice is not delayed a moment longer.”
Max Simon, CEO of Green Flower Media said, “It’s exciting that government is finally aligning itself with what the people want — to decriminalize cannabis. No sensible person is still able to back up the ludicrous claim that cannabis should remain a Schedule 1 drug, and this vote would finally embrace this as truth.”