The House will postpone the much-anticipated vote on HR 3884: The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act, commonly referred to as the MORE Act. The cannabis legislation became the target of politicization causing sponsors to pull the vote. Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took a swing at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, claiming that she wouldn’t “make time for more COVID relief,” but that she would “make time for marijuana.” The legislation, which has Republican sponsors, suddenly became a toxic subject.
It is now expected to be voted on in November. NORML noted that in the past few weeks, the MORE Act had gained dozens of new co-sponsors and likely had the support to pass the House floor with a bipartisan majority vote.
NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said, “This delay by the House does not change the fact that the overwhelming majority of voters support ending the federal prohibition of cannabis, including majorities of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. This delay does not change the fact that 33 states and the District of Columbia regulate the production and distribution of medical cannabis in a manner that is inconsistent with federal policy, and that one-out-of-four Americans now reside in jurisdictions where adult-use is legal under state law. This delay does not change the fact that voters in several states, including key electoral battleground states for both control of the Presidency and the Senate, will be passing similar state-level marijuana measures on Election Day.”
Maritza Perez, Director of the Office of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) said, “Unfortunately, this decision means justice delayed for millions of Black, Latinx, Indigenous and low-income individuals disproportionately impacted by our country’s racist marijuana laws. We cannot continue to force these communities to wait for a ‘politically convenient’ moment while they continue to be robbed of employment opportunities, housing, education, other government programs, and even their children or immigration status.
If members of Congress are serious in their commitment to responding to calls for racial justice, then this vote must take place the moment the House is back in session following the elections. Even with just a six-week delay, approximately 77,000 more people could be arrested on marijuana charges, based on current averages – most of which could have been avoided.”
The MORE Act would:
- Decriminalize marijuana federally by removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act
- Facilitate federal expungements for minor charges and incentivize state and local governments to do the same
- Create pathways for ownership opportunities for local and minority entrepreneurs
- Allow veterans to obtain medical cannabis recommendations from their VA doctors
- Remove the threat of deportation for immigrants