Cannabis Legislation Set for Key Vote in U.S. House Committee Thursday

Federal marijuana legalization is expected to be voted on Thursday (Sep. 30) in the House Judiciary Committee. The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act would remove the federal prohibition on marijuana. The committee is chaired by the legislation’s sponsor, U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). Nadler’s cannabis bill passed the House last year, but was rejected by the Senate.

The new cannabis legislation includes provisions on expunging prior convictions of marijuana crimes, as well as additional taxes on marijuana.

Part of the MORE Act currently includes setting up a new government spending program, which is opposed by some conservative lawmakers, including pro-cannabis Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY), who vowed to force a vote on removing both the tax provisions and funds intended to help repair some of the damage done by the war on drugs.

A number of powerful groups have come out in support of the legislation, including the ACLU, the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, the National Urban League, the National Organization for Women, the National Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers. Support also comes from the AFL-CIO.

Unfortunately, President Biden remains firmly opposed to adult-use marijuana legalization.

Pro-cannabis policy makers, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who promised to “heavily” lobby Biden, are also now wrangling over whether or not to wait to for more thoughtful, comprehensive cannabis reform, as opposed to moving forward with a patchwork of smaller pro-cannabis bills.

Drug Policy Alliance founder Ethan Nadelmann thinks waiting is a mistake. ““Why not let [banking reform] move forward while the long-term process of the legalization bill needs to work itself through?”

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