Cannabis Decriminalization Bill Re-introduced into House

A bill that seeks to federally decriminalize cannabis in the U.S. has been reintroduced after failing last year, reigniting hope for substantial change among cannabis industry advocates.

On November 20th last year, history was made when the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act was passed in the House of Representatives with a wide majority.

The MORE Act, introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., sought (and seeks) to decriminalize cannabis on a federal level, in addition to wiping the records of those that have been convicted of a cannabis-related crime and creating programs to provide those people with some form of compensation and reintegration into society.

While it was certainly an enormous win for cannabis that a federal decriminalization bill passed in the House, it was effectively dead-in-the-water when it arrived in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Now, the MORE Act has been reintroduced into Congress, again by Nadler, for another attempt at federal cannabis decriminalization.

This time around, there's certainly more momentum behind cannabis legalization, with many states having since legalized cannabis following the initial attempt to pass the MORE act. New York is of the most notable states to have done so, with others such as Montana, Virginia, and New Jersey following suit.

"Since I introduced the MORE Act last Congress, numerous states across the nation, including my home state of New York, have moved to legalize marijuana. Our federal laws must keep up with this pace," said Nadler.

The Senate is also no longer controlled by Republicans, but now has a 50/50 split between Republicans and Democrats, and with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tiebreaker. On the surface, this seems promising, given that Harris has herself called for the legalization of cannabis, and Democrats are generally more favorable toward legalization than their republican counterparts.

However, it's likely that the MORE Act is yet again dead in the water, as the bill would require virtually no dissenters within the Democrat Party in the Senate, as well as some Republican support in order to pass or go to a tiebreaker.

Nonetheless, the continued push toward cannabis decriminalization on a federal level is a good thing for the cannabis industry, and it's only a matter of time before one of these efforts succeeds; particularly given that Joe Biden has supported cannabis decriminalization.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.