House Small Business Committee Advances MORE Act

The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act cleared a second Democratically-controlled committee after the House Small Business Committee voted 24-10 in bipartisan favor of advancing the bill.

Full story after the jump.

The House Small Business Committee has waived its jurisdiction on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, making it the second Democratically-controlled committee to advance the legislation.

The action was first reported by Politico.

In November, the House Judiciary Committee voted 24-10 in bipartisan favor of the MORE Act which would end federal cannabis prohibition. The measure must still pass through another eight House committees, including the Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Committee, Agriculture Committee, Education and Labor Committee, Natural Resources Committee, National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Committee, Oversight and Reform Committee, and Ways and Means Committee.

Despite the still long path to the full floor for a vote, NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said cannabis legalization has never been closer following the committee’s action.

“With this action, the MORE Act is one step closer to becoming the first bill to end cannabis prohibition to pass the House of Representatives.” — Strekal, in a press release

Last September, the House approved the SAFE Banking Act, which would give cannabusinesses access to traditional financial services in states where cannabis is legal. That measure passed the chamber in a bipartisan 321-103 vote. It was the first piece of stand-alone cannabis legislation ever to be advanced by federal lawmakers.

Both landmark pieces of legislation face an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Last month, Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R) said he would not support the SAFE Banking Act in the Senate due to concerns over cannabis potency, marketing to children, the lack of research on cannabis and its effects, and money-laundering by “bad actors.” He added that he is “firmly opposed” to cannabis legalization both federally and in his home state of Idaho – which would place him in opposition to the MORE Act as well.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who would be responsible for bringing both the MORE and SAFE acts to the floor for a vote in the chamber, has said he has no plans to back broad cannabis legalization.

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