As Marijuana Business Daily reported, U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-NY, on May 28, reintroduced the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment & Expungement Act. If passed by both houses and signed by the president, the MORE Act would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances, as well as invest in communities of color affected by the war on drugs. Indeed, for decades, young minority men have been arrested for nonviolent cannabis offenses far more than whites.
Under the Act, these men, some of whom have served time in prison, would have their criminal records expunged. A 5 percent tax on marijuana sales might also be levied but that is unclear. A provision of last year’s bill, to prohibit former offenders from working in the cannabis industry, is now gone.
In explaining his action, Nadler pointed to the increasing national approval of marijuana. “Since I introduced the MORE Act last Congress, numerous states [18, to date] across the nation, including my home state of New York, have moved to legalize marijuana,” Nadler said in a statement. “Our federal laws must keep up with this pace.”
Meanwhile, high-profile Republican senators like Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell, who both hail from the hemp-farming state of Kentucky, are supportive of CBD, but the same cannot be said of marijuana. So, Senate passage of the MORE Act – which would require 60 votes rather than the House’s simple majority – remains unlikely.
At the same time, however, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, is expected to introduce a federal legalization bill more comprehensive even than the MORE Act, MJBizDaily reported. What also may keep the MORE Act alive is the widespread support (68 percent of U.S. adults) for marijuana legalization.
Still another factor is the passionate support for the MORE act coming from nonprofit racial justice groups. “Our communities of color that have borne the brunt of marijuana prohibition have waited long enough for justice,” said Marita Perez, director of the Office of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance in a statement.
“The industry needs to be equitable at its core,” Natasha Mejia, a policy analyst at the Oakland, California-based National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, said during a Brookings Institution webinar last week.