This morning, the House of Representatives passed the MORE Act (H.R. 3884), which would federally decriminalize marijuana.
I'm so proud that the MORE Act passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 228 to 164. I introduced this bill to provide restorative justice, modernize America's cannabis laws, and deliver meaningful investments to America's communities & small businesses.— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) December 4, 2020
Now, let's make it law. pic.twitter.com/sByrmUF5ZQ
Though the bill could face the Republican-majority Senate, the move is a monumental step in the United States’ history with regulating substance use. If passed, the MORE Act will remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and eliminate criminal penalties against people who manufacture, distribute or possess marijuana.
“For too long, draconian marijuana laws have contributed to racial inequality. By passing the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, the House has taken a historic step towards finally ending the federal prohibition on marijuana,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “This bill would not only allow for expungement of marijuana convictions and arrests, sealing of records and re-sentencing opportunities, it would also help level the economic playing field for Black, Hispanic and low-income communities.”
The vote, 222-6, affirms the U.S.’s shifting tone around marijuana. It remains fully illegal in only six states, while recreational use is legal in 15. All others have some form of a law that allows medical use or has decriminalized the substance.
In addition to decriminalization, H.R. 3884 would establish a trust fund to support programs and services for communities harmed by the War on Drugs. Such funds will come from a 5 percent tax imposed on cannabis products. What’s more, it sets the foundation for a process to expunge convictions and conduct sentencing review hearings related to federal cannabis offenses.
68% of Americans support marijuana legalization. This year, South Dakota, Arizona, Montana & New Jersey joined 11 other states in legalizing it. Yet, the federal govrnmnt still classifies pot as a dangerous drug. The Senate must listen to the American people & vote on this bill. https://t.co/6R07u35mQd— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) December 4, 2020
The life of the MORE Act could all depend on the Georgia Senate runoff election. According to Politico, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said before he won’t consider comprehensive marijuana legislation. However, if both democrat candidates win in Georgia, it would ensure democrat-majority control of the Senate and open up the possibility of moving forward with the bill.