Last year, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler teamed up with Senator Kamala Harris to file legislation that would end federal prohibition of cannabis in the country and seek to repair some of the damage done by the decades’ long war on drugs. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (“MORE”) Act would remove marijuana and THC from the Controlled Substances Act, provide for the expungement and resentencing of prior marijuana convictions and prevent federal agencies from using cannabis as a reason to deny access to benefits or citizenship status for immigrants.
According to multiple sources familiar with the lawmaker’s plans, the Leadership of the House of Representatives is moving toward holding a floor vote on the bill in September. The bill has already been approved by the House Judiciary Committee, a move that observers stated would set the stage for a full floor vote. The coronavirus pandemic has already stalled legislative efforts on various issues, including cannabis legalization efforts in several states, but sources in the advocacy world and an aide to a key House Committee say that there are plans to hold a floor vote in September.
“Looking at the legislative calendar, realistically we have limited time to get this on the House floor for a vote before time runs out and Congress has to turn their attention elsewhere,” says Queen Adesuyi, policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance (“DPA”). The DPA is part of a coalition of drug reform advocates, including the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, and NORML, that circulated a letter to members of Congress urging them to pass the MORE Act.
“This Congress, the house-made history when it passed an industry-led marijuana bill,” says Adesuyi, referring to the passage of a marijuana banking bill by the House of Representatives late last year. The legislation protects banks that service the cannabis industry from being penalized by federal regulators. “It would be shameful for them, as one of the most progressive groups of electeds in recent memory, to end the war on drugs without addressing victims of the war on drugs or centering those most adversely impacted by marijuana’s criminalization. We need the MORE Act now.”
Aside from federally rescheduling cannabis, the bill would also expunge the records of those with prior marijuana convictions as well as impose a federal five percent tax on cannabis sales. This tax revenue will be reinvested into communities most impacted by the war on drugs.
Analysts say marijuana companies like Sugarmade, Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD) are hoping that the legislation not only succeeds on the House floor but in Senate too.
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