In a historic move, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the MORE Act today, a federal marijuana decriminalization bill. Not surprisingly, the votes largely went along party lines—222 Democrats, five Republicans, and a Libertarian voted in favor, while 158 Republicans and six Democrats voted against the measure. “We’ve been patient for years on this,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), a longtime cannabis reform champion. “My perspective was … that this Congress should not adjourn without addressing cannabis legalization, because it has such a profound effect on especially Black Americans [and] other people of color.”
The MORE Act, which is short for “Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act,” would decriminalize marijuana by removing it from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, allow states to set their own legalization policy, impose a federal tax on marijuana sales, and seek to incorporate those impacted by the war on drugs into the new legal cannabis industry.
The bill will now move to the U.S. Senate, where it will face a much more difficult road. As long as Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is the Majority Leader, it’s hard to be optimistic about the chances of the MORE Act moving forward any time soon. Earlier this week, Sen. McConnell criticized the House for spending time on marijuana reform legislation instead of COVID-19 relief measures. “The House of Representatives is spending this week on pressing issues like marijuana. You know, serious and important legislation befitting this national crisis,” Sen. McConnell said sarcastically.
Please check back in on the blog as we continue to follow the MORE Act and other developments affecting the cannabis industry. Also, visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for up-to-date information to help you stay informed of the legal issues related to COVID-19.