Congressional Committee Votes Yes to De-schedule Cannabis
Washington, DC: Members of the United States House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday passed legislation – House Bill 3884: The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act – by more than a two-to-one margin.
Members decided 24 to 10 in favor of the Act, with two Republicans voting in support of the bill. The MORE Act removes the marijuana plant from the federal Controlled Substances Act, thereby enabling states to enact their own cannabis regulations free from undue federal interference. The vote marks the first time that members of Congress have ever voted to federally deschedule cannabis.
The Act also provides for the review and expungement of past cannabis convictions and provides reinvestments to those communities most adversely impacted by the drug war. It also prohibits the denial of federal aid to those who use cannabis in compliance with state law and allows physicians affiliated with the US Veterans Administration to authorize medical cannabis recommendations, among other changes. The measure is the most comprehensive piece of marijuana-related legislation ever approved by a body of Congress.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, who sponsored the bill, said: "States have led the way and continue to lead the way, but our federal laws have not kept pace with the obvious need for change. We need to catch up because of public support [in favor of legalizing marijuana] and because it is the right thing to do."
NORML's Political Director Justin Strekal praised the House Judiciary vote, stating, "Not only does this bill reverse the failed prohibition of cannabis, but it also provides pathways for opportunity and ownership in the emerging industry for those who have suffered the most under federal criminalization."
Chairman Nadler indicated that the next stop for the More Act could be a House floor vote, presuming that other committee chairs agree to waive their jurisdiction over the bill.