The MORE Act, Explained

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It was about a year ago that The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act—The MORE Act—first passed the House Judiciary Committee with a vote of 24-10. Introduced on July 23, 2019, the MORE Act would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, effectively decriminalizing it nationwide and make it much easier for states to legalize cannabis and/or develop their own regulations surrounding the drug which today remains as Schedule I substance. 

Additionally, the MORE Act would enable the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide financial support to cannabis businesses (something that cannot currently be done because cannabis remains federally illegal) and encourages politicians to establish expungement policy for those who have cannabis charges on their record and other responses to the decades-long racist war on drugs. 

In the Senate (read House Bill 3884 and Senate Bill 2227 here), The MORE Act was co-sponsored in the Senate by Kamala Harris, now the Vice President elect, and the best chance of changing the mind of a cannabis legalization-averse Joe Biden. In preparation for the MORE Act vote in December, The Outlaw Report has gathered its coverage of the MORE Act below.

“Kamala Harris Offers Something Like Hope For Cannabis Legalization Nationwide”: Cannabis reformers’ hope for cannabis legalization across the United States sits squarely on the shoulders of a former prosecutor who as recently as 2014 was laughing at reporters for asking her questions about legal weed. We are of course talking about Kamala Harris, the Democratic pick for Vice President—chosen by Joe Biden, virulently opposed to legalization (and a believer in the “gateway drug” myth), just weeks after the Democratic National Committee voted not to include legalization as part of its political platform.

“House of Representatives Will Vote on The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act (The MORE Act)”: Majority Whip James E. Clyburn announced the House would be voting on The MORE Act in September. “During the September work period, the House is expected to consider H.R. 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act). The MORE Act decriminalizes marijuana at the federal level by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act. This would allow state law to determine the status of marijuana legality for each state,” Clyburn’s letter read. “The bill also requires federal courts to expunge prior marijuana-related convictions and arrests and authorizes the assessment of a 5% sales tax on marijuana and marijuana products to create an Opportunity Trust Fund.

“House Vote on MORE Act Postponed Until After the Election”: “The MORE Act remains a critical component of House Democrats’ plan for addressing systemic racism and advancing criminal justice reform, and we are committed to bringing it to the Floor for a vote before the end of the year,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a statement. “Right now, the House is focused relentlessly on securing agreement to stave off a damaging government shutdown and continuing to do its job addressing the Covid-19 pandemic.” 

“Can Kamala Harris Convince a Legalization-Averse Biden?”: “You supported the Green New Deal, you supported Medicare For All, you supported legalizing marijuana, Joe Biden doesn’t support those things,” 60 Minutes’  Norah O’Donnell said. “So are you going to bring the policies, those progressive policies you’ve supported as senator into a Biden administration?”

“Following Cannabis Legalization Wave, MORE Act Will Finally Get a Vote”: A December timeframe for the vote on the MORE Act was announced by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in a letter about the upcoming lame duck session: “The House will vote on the MORE Act to decriminalize cannabis and expunge convictions for non-violent cannabis offenses that have prevented many Americans from getting jobs, applying for credit and loans, and accessing opportunities that make it possible to get ahead in our economy,” Hoyer wrote.

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