Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Marijuana Legalization Bill Advances in Congress After Sweeping Victory

House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Jerrold Nadler, during the hearing about the MORE Act.

For the first time in history, a congressional vote approved a bill that would end the federal prohibition of marijuana. The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement Act (The MORE Act), which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in August, passed the chamber’s Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Nov. 10, by a 24-10 vote. “The MORE Act will now be sent to the full House of Representatives. This is a historic moment in the decades long campaign to end marijuana prohibition at the federal level,” the Marijuana Policy Project announced.
Although surveys found that most Americans believe Congress is too distracted by the ongoing impeachment process to work on legislation (a sentiment the Republican Party and Donald Trump largely fostered), congressional Democrats are proving them wrong. Congress officially launched what Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) appropriately dubbed the “War on the War on Drugs.”
“For the first time, a congressional committee has approved far-reaching legislation to not just put an end to federal marijuana prohibition but to address the countless harms our prohibitionist policies have wrought—notably on communities of color and other already marginalized groups,” stated Erik Altieri, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the largest pro-marijuana activist group in the country.The MORE Act, which is sponsored by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) in the House and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) in the U.S. Senate, was already hailed as “the most comprehensive marijuana reform bill ever introduced in Congress” back in August. Not only does it plan to entirely remove all mention of cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act—which would de facto decriminalize cannabis federally and allow states to regulate it—it also plans an excise tax on the sale of cannabis products to fund social justice initiatives; in particular, to support and uphold communities of color that were most heavily impacted by the War on Drugs.

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