The U.S. House is set to vote this week on the MORE Act, which would legalize cannabis federally, The Hill reports. The vote could come as soon as Wednesday, and the Democrat-controlled chamber has the votes to pass the broad reform package.
Last week the Senate unanimously passed a bill to expand scientific and medical research on cannabis and last month the House passed the SAFE Banking Act for the sixth time, which would allow cannabis businesses access to traditional financial services from which they are currently blocked due to federal prohibition; the Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Democrats, has never taken up the proposal.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), a co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, told The Hill that this Congress “represents a sea change” on cannabis policy.
“What we have seen is that the majority of people now realize that the War on Drugs failed. Drugs are more accessible and cheaper and more potent and dangerous. Nobody won this war, except people who were involved with the drug dealers themselves.” – Blumenauer to The Hill
The MORE Act – or the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act – would establish a process to expunge nonviolent federal cannabis convictions and impose a federal tax on cannabis sales that would be used to fund programs to help communities negatively impacted by the war on drugs.
The chamber passed the legislation in December 2020 by a 228 to 164 margin with five Republicans crossing party lines to vote in favor and six Democrats joining the opposition. One of the Republicans, Rep. Don Young (AK), who voted for the bill died last week and Blumenauer said the margin “might be tighter” for the vote.
A Pew Research Center poll from last April found 91% of U.S. adults said cannabis should be legalized federally, with 60% saying it should be legalized for both medical and adult use and 31% saying it should only be legalized for medical purposes.
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