Earlier today, Congressional leadership announced that a House vote will take place on a comprehensive cannabis legalization bill — the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act — in September. The MORE Act historically passed the House Judiciary Committee last November and has since awaited further action.
Introduced over a year ago and sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the MORE Act is a comprehensive approach to fixing our nation’s broken cannabis laws. With the recent unrest following the killing of George Floyd, and now the shooting of Jacob Blake (among many others), Americans are again examining tough issues related to policing, race, and criminal justice reform.
At MPP, we believe that serious criminal justice reform cannot begin in our country without ending the war on cannabis. When it comes to the ways the criminalization of cannabis has impacted Black Americans, the MORE Act would set federal policy on a path toward correcting an unfair system. Specifically, the legislation would:
- Federally decriminalize and deschedule cannabis (removing cannabis and cannabis products from the Controlled Substances Act), thus allowing states to set their own policies;
- Automatically expunge cannabis arrests, charges, and convictions;
- Enhance medical cannabis access for veterans;
- Promote social equity with an emphasis on restorative justice for communities most impacted by cannabis prohibition;
- Create a fund to help emerging businesses and minorities participate in the cannabis industry; and
- Initiate research looking at racial disparities in the cannabis system.
This important measure addresses two key challenges we currently face. First, it would be a major step forward in criminal justice reform at a critical time as we work to help restore justice to those who have been victimized by the failed war on cannabis. Second, it would empower states to implement programs that can stimulate economic growth when it is urgently needed. Please encourage your representative in Congress to back the MORE Act.