MORE ACT Historically Passes The House
On Friday December 4 cannabis history was made when the United States House of Representatives passed The MORE Act, a document designed to federally legalize cannabis and aid those negatively impacted by cannabis criminalization. The act passed in a 228 to 168 final vote. The MORE Act was introduced to the house in July 2019 and was originally written with a companion bill. The act was also accompanied with 120 sponsors including Texas representative Sheila Lee Jackson, Massachusetts representative Ayanna Pressley, New York’s very own Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and now President elect Joe Biden and Vice President elect Kamala Harris.
The MORE Act, an abbreviation for Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, was specifically created to decriminalize cannabis and help individuals and communities impacted by the war on drugs. It’s goal is to completely end cannabis convictions, remove cannabis related charges and punishments, and lift business and banking restrictions. Changes this bill would make in relation to cannabis laws and convictions also includes, according to the official documentation provided by the Library of Congress;
- Establishes a process to expunge convictions and conduct sentencing review hearings related to federal cannabis offenses
- Prohibits the denial of federal public benefits to a person on the basis of certain cannabis-related conduct or convictions
- Makes Small Business Administration loans and services available to entities that are cannabis-related legitimate businesses or service providers
- Requires the Bureau of Labor Statistics to regularly publish demographic data on cannabis business owners and employees
- Establishes a trust fund to support various programs and services for individuals and businesses in communities impacted by the war on drugs
- Imposes a 5% tax on cannabis products and requires revenues to be deposited into the trust fund
A few of the findings documented in the text of the act noted, “A legacy of racial and ethnic injustices, compounded by the disproportionate collateral consequences of 80 years of cannabis prohibition enforcement, now limits participation in the industry” and “Fewer than one-fifth of cannabis business owners identify as minorities and only approximately 4 percent are black.”
So what’s next and what does this mean for the future of cannabis? Well now we wait for the seneate to vote on it. However the senate is primarily republican at the moment, so the hopes of it passing are low unless more supportive primarily partsian are voted into the senate. Georgia being a powerful voting state has the power to sway the senate and may even increase the chances of The MORE Act being passed and then the president would make the final decision. However, any bill not signed into law by the time Congress adjourns on January 3 will have to be reintroduced, so that most likely will be the fate for the MORE Act or any other prominent cannabis-centric legislation, according to CNN.
Not all hope is lost though, this news was preceded by the United Nations announcing they are removing cannabis from their most dangerous drugs list and it’s no longer considered or listed as a risky narcotic. These historic updates and clear changes in views about cannabis are clear evidence that this plant slowly but surely is on its way to possible full legalization.