In a surprising turn of events, a key Congressional committee, the House Judiciary Committee, has voted to approve the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019, or H.R. 3884, which would effectively put an end to cannabis prohibition in the United States of America, on a federal level by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act.
The bill also stipulates the potential expungement of certain federal cannabis convictions—with expenses being covered by a small excise tax imposed on the legal cannabis industry, as well as the creation of a Cannabis Justice Office focused on reinvesting resources into communities most affected by prohibition. Finally, if fully passed, the law would allow the Small Business Administration to issue loans and grants to marijuana-related businesses, and provide a green light for physicians in the Veterans Affairs system to prescribe medical cannabis to patients, as long as they abide by state specific laws.
The bill, introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) passed with bipartisan support in a 24 to 10 vote. This is the first time in American history the public has seen a congressional committee pass a legalization bill. As reported by Marijuana Moment, two Republicans voted in favor of this bill: Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Tom McClintock (R-CA).
Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance explained that, with the markup of the MORE Act on Wednesday, the United States of America is “coming one step closer to ending the devastating harms of marijuana prohibition, which have fallen so heavily on Black and Brown people.”
“Today’s vote marks a turning point for federal cannabis policy, and is truly a sign that prohibition’s days are numbered,” concluded Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). “Thanks to the diligent efforts of advocates and lawmakers from across the political spectrum, we’ve seen more progress in this Congress than ever before. Supermajority public support for legalization, increasing recognition of the devastating impacts of prohibition on marginalized communities and people of color, and the undeniable success of state cannabis programs throughout the country are all helping to build momentum for comprehensive change in the foreseeable future.”
This article was written by Javier Hasse from Forbes.com