Historic U.S. Cannabis Legalization Bill To Be Voted On This Month

The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act (The MORE Act) is expected to be voted on sometime this September and may lead to the federal decriminalization of cannabis in the United States.

At some point throughout this September, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019, known as the More Act, will be voted on by the House of Representatives to determine whether cannabis is removed from the list of Schedule I substances in the United States.

Cannabis has been labeled a Schedule I substance since the 1970s, as a result of the Controlled Substances Act, which deemed the substance to have "no current medicinal benefit."

This is, of course, despite the fact that medicinal cannabis is currently legal, and prescribed, in 33 U.S. States, with Nebraska looking poised to become the 34th state to follow suit this November.

As such, the MORE Act seeks to remove cannabis from the list of federally controlled substances, effectively decriminalizing the drug and allowing states to decide whether they'd like to allow for a recreational cannabis market. Additionally, the MORE Act would expunge federal marijuana convictions off of records, as well as divert funding to communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs.

The bill was first passed by The House Judiciary Committee, after being introduced by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and co-sponsored by more than 50 lawmakers, in a 24-10 vote last November.

Speaking on the MORE Act, Nadler said:

"These steps are long overdue. For far too long, we have treated marijuana as a criminal justice problem instead of a matter of personal choice and public health."

"Whatever one's views on the use of marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes, arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating users at the federal level is unwise and unjust."

The MORE Act may have broader political ramifications, given that Kamala Harris, Joe Biden's recent pick for Vice President, is the lead sponsor of the Act. As a majority (66%) of Americans support cannabis legalization, the passage of the MORE Act may bode well Kamala in gaining support from pro-cannabis voters

Additionally, voting on the MORE Act follows remarks made by President Donald Trump, who allegedly acknowledged that cannabis ballots can "supercharge" Democrat voters.

Though the MORE Act also comes at a time when cannabis businesses have thrived throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, often seeing increased sales or medicinal marijuana prescriptions, as well as at a time of ongoing focus upon racial injustices in the United States. Given the racial history of the War on Drugs, as well as the need to supercharge the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, the passage of the MORE Act could represent a bright moment in a tumultuous year.

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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.

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