Each of New Jersey's Democratic House members voted in favor of a proposed federal law that would decriminalize marijuana on Friday. The state's two Republican congress members voted no on the bill.
Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act
However, under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana remains classified as a Schedule 1 illegal drug with no medical uses, on par with heroin and LSD. The Drug Enforcement Agency strictly limits marijuana cultivation for research, frustrating scientists who are unable to investigate its medical benefits and risks under current regulations.
Rescheduling marijuana for research was an oft-repeated promise of President Joe Biden’s campaign, along with a pledge to decriminalize the use of cannabis and grant clemency to people with federal marijuana convictions.
It was the MORE Act, a similarly comprehensive piece of legislation first introduced in 2019. The U.S. House has approved this bill before, but it’s still heartening to see it progress once again through the committee process.
“By advancing the MORE Act, the House will demonstrate that the majority of our political leaders are ready to correct this injustice and enact cannabis policy reform that undoes the harms that have been inflicted upon millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said in a public statement.
The equity advocates have submitted a pair of alternative amendments of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which cleared the House last year and was recently refiled by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). The proposals come from the Parabola Center, a newly established organization that is working to inform legalization legislation federally and at the state-level with the intent of promoting social justice-centered reforms.
Amazon is throwing its weight behind federal legislation to legalize marijuana and pledging to no longer screen some of its workers for the drug.
In a blog post Tuesday, Amazon's consumer boss, Dave Clark, said the company supports the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, reintroduced in the House late last month. The MORE Act would decriminalize cannabis at the federal level, expunge criminal records and invest in impacted communities.
Today, more than two-in-three Americans support marijuana legalization, including 49 percent of respondents who self-identify as “conservative,” according to Gallup’s 2020 polling. Even in a historically conservative state like Texas, nearly two-in-three respondents, 64 percent, supported legalizing and taxing marijuana in the 2021 Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation Poll.
In the span of eight short years, the number of states in the U.S. allowing adult-use marijuana has gone from zero to fifteen. Most of these efforts have happened via state-wide ballot initiatives.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he’s putting together a new federal marijuana legalization bill that would allow states freedom to “do whatever they’d like” and put tax revenues into minority communities most harmed by prohibition.
A New York Democrat who filed a marijuana descheduling bill in 2018, Schumer said his latest effort draws from a number of reform bills. He reportedly is working with both Democratic senators and some Republicans.
The federal marijuana legalization bill passed in a historic vote last week by the U.S. House of Representatives would generate about $13.7 billion in net revenue for the U.S. treasury over the next decade, according to a new report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). It would also cut federal prison spending by nearly $1 billion.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) on Friday said arguments against legalizing marijuana are increasingly unpopular, urging members of his party to switch their positions.
Gaetz was one of five Republicans to vote for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which the House passed on Friday.
The bill would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and would expunge certain marijuana convictions. It's the first time either chamber of Congress has taken such a step.
Members of the House Rules Committee have advanced the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, HR 3884, which removes marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act — thereby eliminating the existing conflict between state and federal marijuana laws. The legislation is expected to be considered on the floor of the House of Representatives later this week.