Positive federal cannabis law reforms move forward step by step, person by person, as elected officials and policymakers start to catch up to the will of the voters. It took several tries through Congress to pass a budget provision protecting state-legal cannabis patients and providers from federal prosecution, but now this protection is a common yearly budget rider.
We’re still looking for the U.S. Senate to pass similar legislation for adult-use consumers and retailers, but we’ve passed such a measure through the House, after a couple of attempts; same thing for the SAFE Banking Act that will allow cannabis businesses’ access to banking services. Today, history was made as a bill to deschedule cannabis, the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, passed the House Judiciary Committee with a bipartisan 24-10 vote.
As usual, Marijuana Moment was on top of the breaking news:
The approved legislation, introduced by Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), would federally deschedule cannabis, expunge the records of those with prior marijuana convictions and impose a five percent tax on sales, revenue from which would be reinvested in communities most impacted by the drug war.
It would also create a pathway for resentencing for those incarcerated for marijuana offenses, as well as protect immigrants from being denied citizenship over cannabis and prevent federal agencies from denying public benefits or security clearance due to its use.
“These steps are long overdue. For far too long we’ve treated marijuana as a criminal justice problem instead of a matter of personal choice and public health,” Nadler said in his opening remarks. “Arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating people at the federal level is unwise and unjust.”
With two-thirds of American adults wanting to put an end to federal prohibition, it is only a matter of time before legalization becomes the law of the land. However, the Reefer Madness prohibitionists in power won’t go down without a fight. We must continue supporting advocates, organizations, and elected officials that are on the right side of history. Most importantly, the cannabis community just needs to keep speaking the truth.