House Passes MORE Act to Federally Legalize Cannabis

Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives today passed the MORE Act to federally legalize cannabis in a bipartisan vote.

Full story after the jump.

The U.S. House approved the MORE Act today – a federal cannabis legalization bill introduced by New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D) – in a bipartisan 220-204 vote.

The measure seeks to remove cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act, impose a federal tax on cannabis product sales, and would establish an expungement process for prior cannabis convictions. The House previously passed the measure in December 2020 but it was not brought to the Senate floor for a vote, which was controlled by Republicans at the time.

It’s unclear whether the measure has enough support to clear a filibuster in the Senate – which requires 60 votes – and Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (W. Va) and Jeanne Shaheen (NH) have both expressed skepticism about legalizing cannabis federally, according to The Hill.

The House considered three amendments to the proposal prior to the vote, including a provision requiring a study on the impact of cannabis on workplaces and schools, sponsored by Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA); an amendment requiring a study of the methods law enforcement could use to determine whether a driver is impaired by cannabis, sponsored by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ); and a provision by Rep Jamie Raskin (D-MD) to retroactively not deny individuals security clearance because of admitted cannabis use. Lawmakers approved the first and second amendments but rejected the third — a motion to recommit the legalization proposal to committee for further changes was also rejected.

In the House, Republican Rep. Nancy Mace (SC) has introduced other legislation to legalize cannabis at the federal level – that bill carries three GOP co-sponsors: Reps. Brian Mast (FL), Tom McClintock (CA) and Peter Meijer (MI).

Mace’s legislation would set an age limit of 21 for cannabis use and impose a 3% tax on cannabis, which is smaller than the 5% tax included in the MORE Act, although the Democrat-purposed bull would gradually increase the tax to 8% over five years. Mace’s bill would also establish a 10-year moratorium on any tax increases on cannabis.

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