NOTE: This is an unedited press release from the National Cannabis Industry Association.
MORE Act – approved in House floor vote last year – would remove cannabis from schedule of controlled substances, expunge convictions, and help repair harms caused by outdated policies
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would remove cannabis from the schedule of controlled substances and end the state-federal conflict that currently exists in the majority of states which have regulated cannabis in some fashion. The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, or H.R. 3617, was reintroduced by House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and has 74 cosponsors.
In addition to removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, the bill would expunge non-violent federal cannabis convictions and support state efforts to do the same, provide opportunities and resources for cannabis businesses owned by women and people of color, create reinvestment programs for communities that have been adversely impacted by prohibition, improve immigration laws related to cannabis, and allow doctors in the Veterans Affairs system to recommend medical cannabis to their patients.
The MORE Act was originally approved in a full House vote in December 2020, becoming the first bill to end federal prohibition to pass in either chamber. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate by now-Vice President Kamala Harris, but did not receive a hearing before the end of the session.
The current legislation must be considered or waived by several more committees of jurisdiction before it can be brought up for another floor vote.
“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 see in a comprehensive descheduling bill, it represents the increasing support for ending prohibition among both lawmakers and the American public, not to mention the current policies of dozens of states around the country.”
“This bill would be a huge improvement on the status quo and is helping to further the conversation about what effective federal cannabis policy looks like,” Smith continued. “Removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act is absolutely necessary, and the MORE Act would be a big step in the right direction for restorative justice and making sure that small businesses and members of marginalized communities who have been disproportionately harmed by prohibition can benefit from the opportunities created by regulated cannabis markets.”
NCIA originally released recommendations for a federal regulatory framework in October 2019 and has been working with lawmakers to include them in comprehensive cannabis policy reform bills. Many of these ideas were incorporated in the draft language of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which was released in July by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). NCIA provided significant feedback developed with members and stakeholders from across the cannabis industry and will continue to work with sponsors to pass legislation that undoes as much of the damage caused by prohibition as possible, protects small businesses, and ensures that a well-regulated cannabis industry can reach its full potential in the United States.
Laws to make cannabis legal for adults have passed in 19 states as well as the District of Columbia and the territories of CNMI and Guam, and 36 states as well as several territories have comprehensive medical cannabis laws. The substance is legal in some form in 47 states.
The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only organization broadly representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.
- Minority Cannabis Academy: Social Equity in PracticeThe Minority Cannabis Academy graduated its first class of 25 students in September. The Academy’s goal is to take advantage of the social equity atmosphere in New Jersey to help those most harmed by prohibition.
- Marijuana Policy Project Releases Voter Guide to 2022 Governors’ Races and Cannabis Policy Reform Ahead of Midterm ElectionOn Tuesday, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) released their voter guide to 2022 governors’ races and cannabis policy reform. In 36 states, voters will be choosing their next governor on Election Day.
- Green Thumb to Launch “RISE Express” Dispensaries in FloridaGreen Thumb Industries Inc., a leading national cannabis consumer packaged goods company and owner of RISE Dispensaries, today announced plans to expand its medical retail footprint in Florida through a lease agreement with Circle K, the global convenience store retailer.
- Missouri AFL-CIO endorses cannabis legalization constitutional amendmentMissouri AFL-CIO president Jake Hummel on Thursday announced his organization was endorsing the proposal, which will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot as Amendment 3, calling it a “huge step forward for criminal justice reform in Missouri.”
- Minnesota’s Black cannabis users far more likely to face arrest than white onesBlack Minnesotans are nearly five times as likely to be arrested on marijuana charges as white ones, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. It’s a disparity that has persisted for years, despite data showing that Black and white residents use cannabis at similar rates.
- Lawmakers ask MO governor to add cannabis legalization in special sessionA bipartisan group of lawmakers and activists are calling for Missouri Gov. Mike Parson to include marijuana legalization on the agenda of the legislature’s upcoming special session.
- In Brief: Pa. Governor Accepting Cannabis Pardon Requests in Sept.Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman announce the PA Marijuana Pardon Program, offering expedited pardon reviews to people convicted of only minor cannabis possession for personal use.
- Michigan State Police stops cannabis testing after false positivesMichigan State Police have acknowledged that its blood tests for marijuana are producing false positives for THC, and it will immediately halt testing.
- Missouri Dems expect boost from cannabis, but split on specificsSupport for legalization and heartburn about the amendment’s details have led to soul-searching among Democratic Party officials across the state. The consternation is particularly acute among Black Democratic leaders.
- Signatures on Nebraska medical cannabis petitions to get another lookThe Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office has agreed to take another look at signatures submitted by a group seeking legalization of medical marijuana to determine if they should have been counted.