This week, the US House of Representatives plans to vote on cannabis legalization. Particularly, whether to remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances. They’re also discussing reparations for communities affected by the war on cannabis. The bill, entitled the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, is sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler.
Why So Long?
There’s widespread anger and confusion over why it’s taken this long for the US federal government to act. And even then, this week they’re only voting on it. There are no guarantees. An earlier version of the MORE Act failed in the Senate last year.
“Notwithstanding overwhelming public support for legalizing cannabis, and election promises by the Biden administration to enact cannabis reform, progress towards federal legalization has been at a standstill,” says cannabis ETFs expert, Jason Wilson.
“While a House vote on federal legalization is only the first of many steps towards cannabis reform, it is promising that lawmakers are responding to their constituents and working towards a solution that would end cannabis prohibition.”
The MORE Act
Unlike Canada’s legalization, the MORE Act says people with prior convictions will see their records expunged. A reevaluation of all cannabis-related jail sentences is in the works. In an earlier version of the bill, there was even talk about restricting how federal agencies can act. From denying security clearances based on cannabis consumption to workplace drug testing.
Even if the MORE Act fails, there is still hope for federal cannabis legalization. Even in the Republican-controlled Senate, there are plans to file a motion in April. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has a bill called Cannabis Administration & Opportunity Act. This bill legalizes at the federal level but leaves the decision up to the individual States.
Biden Says One Thing, Does Another
In 2018, The Farm Bill legalized all types of cannabis (CBD, hemp, Delta-8) except for plants with high amounts of THC. Yet, states like Oregon have banned Delta-8. Others like Texas are currently deliberating on the topic.
When running for president, Biden said, “We should decriminalize marijuana.” But once in the Oval Office, the 79-year-old fired members of his staff for their past cannabis use. Like his predecessor Donald Trump, Biden talked a big game on the campaign trail, but now that’s he in power he’s done very little in the way of progress. He’s been silent on the MORE Act, although an earlier version of the bill found sponsorship by his vice-president Kamala Harris.
If anything, Biden is moving in the opposite direction. He signed a government spending bill recommending restrictions on CBD and new regulations for hemp. Fortunately, the Biden administration hasn’t intervened in the legal States.
The Rules Committee will hold a meeting to prep the MORE Act for a House Vote. Expect a vote sometime this week.
Meanwhile, you can read the following article to know about MORE Act: