MORE Act of 2021 - Rep Jerrold Nadler

On March 24, 2022, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) reported part one of an amended H.R. 3617 to the House. The legislation is scheduled to be considered by the House Rules Committee on Wednesday, March 30 at 1pm EST.

The following is a summary of the current bill:

  • This bill decriminalizes marijuana.
  • Specifically, it removes marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act and eliminates criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana.
  • The bill also makes other changes, including the following:
    • replaces statutory references to marijuana and marihuana with cannabis,
    • 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 an excise tax on cannabis products produced in or imported into the United States and an occupational tax on cannabis production facilities and export warehouses,
    • makes Small Business Administration loans and services available to entities that are cannabis-related legitimate businesses or service providers,
    • prohibits the denial of federal public benefits to a person on the basis of certain cannabis-related conduct or convictions,
    • prohibits the denial of benefits and protections under immigration laws on the basis of a cannabis-related event (e.g., conduct or a conviction),
    • establishes a process to expunge convictions and conduct sentencing review hearings related to federal cannabis offenses, and
    • directs the Government Accountability Office to study the societal impact of cannabis legalization.

On February 4, 2022, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) held a press conference during which he announced that he intends to introduce the long-awaited Cannabis Administration & Opportunity (CAO) Act in April of this year.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, also a New York Democrat, spoke at the same press conference about the MORE Act’s progress. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act is the closest thing to a companion bill for the CAO Act. The MORE Act has been voted out of committee and awaits debate by the full House, not yet scheduled.

On January 10, 2022, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) joined as the 102nd co-sponsor of the MORE Act. As of now, the legislation is still not scheduled for consideration by the entire House of Representatives.

On November 23, Representative Steven Horsford (D-NV) became the 100th House Democrat to join in co-sponsoring the MORE Act. Matt Gaetz of Florida is still the lone GOP sponsor.

Since the bill was reported out of committee, it has gained 25 new Democrat co-sponsors, but is still not scheduled to be taken up by the full House.

On September 30, the House judiciary committee, chaired by MORE Act sponsor Rep. Jerrold Nadler, approved the bill by a vote of 26 to 15.

Only a single House Republican, Matt Gaetz (FL), joined 75 Democrats in cosponsoring the MORE Act. The SAFE Banking Act, addressing financial services for cannabis businesses, passed with about three-fourths of the House voting in favor in April. It’s not clear, however, whether the minority will be as supportive of non-business reforms.

Cannabis banking still hasn’t moved in the Senate, but recent discussions bring some hope. Last month cannabis groups from across the country submitted comments on the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act draft. Democratic senators Chuck Schumer (NY), Cory Booker (NJ), and Ron Wyden (OR) may be able to prepare the way for agreement on comprehensive reform.

You can read statements of support issued after the judiciary committee vote from the Marijuana Policy Project and the National Cannabis Industry Association. We’ll continue to update this space with new developments.

Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2021 on May 28, 2021.

Nadler stated the goals of the legislation as follows:

The MORE Act would make three important changes to federal law:

  1. Remove marijuana, or cannabis, from the list of federally controlled substances;
  2. Authorize the provision of resources, funded by an excise tax on marijuana, to address the needs of communities that have been seriously impacted by the War on Drugs, including increasing the participation of communities of color in the burgeoning cannabis market; and
  3. Provide for the expungement of Federal marijuana convictions and arrests.

Original MORE Act News

U.S. House votes to decriminalize cannabis, Senate action less likely
The House voted 220-204 to approve the measure, which would fix the split between federal law and 19 states where recreational marijuana is legal. Three Republicans joined all but two Democrats in approving the measure.
Cannabis advocates show support for planned MORE Act House vote
As members of Congress announce that the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act will receive a floor vote next week, advocates are showing their support for the bill. With counterpart legislation expected soon in the Senate, groups like Marijuana Policy Project, NORML and Human Rights Watch have issued reports …
NORML: US House of Representatives to Vote on MORE Act Next Week
Members of the US House of Representatives have announced that they will hold a floor vote next week on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act. Morgan Fox, Political Director of NORML, comments on the development.
Cannabis in ’22: Is federal legalization on the horizon?
Profiles in Legalization spoke with policy heads from three national reform organizations recently. Is legalization on the horizon? They provided their thoughts on how things look for next year.
Cannabis Banking: Defense amendments and the MORE Act
Recent weeks have seen movement on two important pieces of federal cannabis reform. Cannabis banking was attached to a national defense bill and the MORE Act was voted out of committee.
Congressional Committee Approves Federal Marijuana Legalization Bill
Statement from Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project: “We’re encouraged to see that the MORE Act is once again advancing in the U.S. House of Representatives. We cannot achieve meaningful and lasting criminal justice reform in our country without ending the war on cannabis. Lawmakers on both …
House Judiciary Committee Approves Bill to End Federal Cannabis Prohibition
“We are thankful that the House continues to pursue sensible cannabis policy reforms and is once again moving on this important bill,” said Aaron Smith, co-founder and chief executive officer of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). “While the MORE Act lacks the robust regulatory structure we would like to …

Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act Status

Text of MORE Act (H.R. 3617)

This text was updated on March 24, 2022.

Purpose: To decriminalize and deschedule 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.