Analysis: House of Representatives Pass the MORE Act
The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act was passed by the House Of Representatives on Dec. 4 with a 228-164 vote. The MORE Act aims to do more than take Marijuana off the schedule one drug list.
One of the highlights of the bill is a 5% tax on cannabis products that will fund and create the Community Reinvestment Grant Program, which would “provide eligible entities with funds to administer services most adversely impacted by the War on Drugs.” The program’s services are broken down into different categories which include “youth recreation or mentoring programs, legal aid for criminal and civil cases, and services to address any collateral consequences that individuals or communities face as a result of the War on Drugs.”
On paper, marijuana is in the same category with drugs such as PCP, cocaine, and heroine. Marijuana is an easy target when fighting the War On Drugs. In 2018, 40% of the drug arrests were marijuana related. Over 90% of those arrests were for possession.
This Bill would decriminalize and deschedule marijuana, changing how future generations would be convicted of any marijuana offense. The MORE Act includes the expungement of any juvenile Federal Cannabis case since May 1971. Anyone currently serving a cannabis sentence would be up for review with a potential for a reduced sentence. Decriminalizing marijuana and removing it from the Scheduled 1 would also impact immigration laws. The act would ensure “an alien may not be denied any benefit or protection under the immigration laws based on any event, including conduct, a finding, an admission, addiction or abuse, an arrest, a juvenile adjudication, or a conviction, relating to cannabis.”
Passing the MORE Act is one step forward of Congress representing the people’s view on marijuana. Since 1969, the support for legalization has increased from 12% to 68%.
The bill was sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, who noted “Despite the federal government’s continuing criminalization of marijuana, 36 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical cannabis.15 states and the District of Colombia have legalized cannabis for adult recreational use.”
If this bill becomes law, it would allow each state to determine how they would like to regulate the drug. Conservative states would still likely ban marijuana, while others continued to press for legalization. However, The MORE Act will most likely not be passed in the Republican dominated Senate.
Although the bill will most likely die, Ii is one step forward for marijuana policy in the United States. Congress is now open to revisit the classification of marijuana and close the gap between state and federal policies.