The Executive Director of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML) Erik Altieri, writes today that the United States will possibly experience Congress’ first vote to outright end federal marijuana prohibition. The House Judiciary Committee has posted a markup for bill HR 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act. The bill will potentially be subject to a vote occurring on Wednesday, November 20th, or shortly thereafter.
The MORE Act, sponsored by Rep. Kamala D. Harris of California as S.2227, is bipartisan legislation that removes cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, subsequently decriminalizing it at the federal level and enabling states to set their policies, according to NORML.
According to the text of HR3884, its purpose is to “decriminalize and de-schedule cannabis, to provide for reinvestment in certain persons adversely impacted by the War on Drugs, to provide for expungement of certain cannabis offenses, and for other purposes.”
The bill contains several significant reforms that anti-prohibition activists have dedicated their lives to enacting on the federal level. In addition to entirely removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I narcotic in league with heroin, the bill would make several other impactful changes, as follows:
States are incentivized to move forward with expungement policies that will clear the criminal records of people who have low-level cannabis convictions. Individuals who are currently incarcerated for non-violent cannabis crimes may apply for re-sentencing.
If approved, the MORE Act allows the Small Business Administration to support entrepreneurs and businesses as they seek to gain a foothold in the emerging cannabis sector.
Additionally, the MORE Act has a provision to provide grants and funding to communities most detrimentally impacted by the failed “war on drugs.” Non-violent cannabis consumers whose livelihoods are affected by blights on their permanent records will have the chance at a clean slate.
Moreover, it permits physicians who are affiliated with the Veterans Administration to recommend medical cannabis as a treatment for qualifying veterans who reside in legal states, as a treatment for PTSD, pain management and anxiety.
To help bring the MORE Act to fruition, fill out this form on NORML’s website.