Washington, DC: Just over a week ahead of an anticipated House vote on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, HR 3884, the bill continues to gain traction with an increase in the number of Republican commitments to vote yes and Democratic cosponsors.
“Momentum continues to build towards a successful vote in the House,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “The American public will look favorably upon the bipartisan majority that would vote to pass the MORE Act.”
Last week, Congressman Don Young told Alaska Public Radio of the MORE Act, “It’s a big vote. And we’re going to pass that, I’m confident” (audio at 51:48). Two other Republicans previously told Politico that they would vote for the bill in August.
New cosponsors spanning the political spectrum include Representatives: Brown (MD), Brownley (CA), Clark (MA), Connolly (VA), Cox (CA), Crist (FL), Davids (KS), Gomez (CA), Gonzalez (TX), Hayes (CT), Kildee (MI), Kirkpatrick (AZ), Larson (CT), Levin (CA), Maloney (NY), Moulton (MA), Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Omar (MN), Payne (NJ), Porter (CA), Price (NC), Scott (VA), Scott (GA), Speier (CA), Torres (CA), Trahan (MA), Welch (VT), and Yarmuth (KY).
The Senate version of the bill is carried by Senator Kamala Harris, Democratic nominee for Vice-President.
The House version now has over 100 cosponsors, including Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Lujan; Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries and caucus-Vice Chair Katherine Clark; and Committee Chairs Elliot Engel (Foreign Affairs), Peter DeFazio (Transportation and Infrastructure), Ted Deutch (Ethics) Raul Grijalva (Natural Resources), Zoe Lofgren (House Administration), Carolyn Maloney (Oversight and Reform), Jim McGovern (Rules), Jerry Nadler (Judiciary), Bobby Scott (Education and Labor), Bennie Thompson (Homeland Security), and Nydia Velazquez (Small Business), Maxine Waters (Finance), John Yarmuth (Budget); and Cannabis Caucus co-Chairs Earl Blumenauer and Barbara Lee.
This comes after multiple letters have been sent to House leadership requesting consideration for the MORE Act on the floor in September from nearly every corner of the political landscape, including:
- The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights leading a diverse coalition of over 120 groups cosigning, including ACLU, NAACP, Human Rights Watch, Drug Policy Alliance, NORML, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the Justice Roundtable, Matthew Shepard Foundation, NACDL, National Association of Social Workers, the National Association of Women (NOW), and many others. Letter can be viewed here.
- Over 100 public health professionals from the perspective of clinicians, nurses, academics, researchers, social workers, etc. Letter can be viewed here.
- Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP) and Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), along with law enforcement experts including dozens of current and former police officers, sheriffs, prosecutors, etc. Letter can be viewed here.
- According to a recent report by the ACLU, Black Americans are 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis-related crimes than white Americans.
- According to the FBI UCR, over 663,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana-related crimes in 2018 alone.
- The state-legal cannabis industry employs over 243,000 full-time workers. In context, that is over 4 times the number of jobs in the coal industry.
- While the substance is not without harm, it is far less harmful than legal and regulated alcohol and tobacco.
The MORE Act would:
- Decriminalize marijuana federally by removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act
- Facilitate federal expungements for minor charges and incentivize state and local governments to do the same
- Create pathways for ownership opportunities by minority entrepreneurs through the SBA
- Allow veterans to obtain medical cannabis recommendations from their VA doctors
- Remove the threat of deportation for immigrants
- Among other important changes.
Pew Research Center, Nov. 2019
Question: The use of marijuana should be made legal?
- Overall: 67% Yes – 32% No
- Democrats / Lean Democrats: 78% Yes – 20% No
- Republicans / Lean Republicans: 55% Yes – 44% No
Gallup Polling, Oct. 2019
Question: Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?
- Overall: 66% Yes – 33% No
- Democrat: 76% Yes – 23% No
- Republicans: 51% Yes – 47% No
- Independents: 68% Yes – 30% No
You can read a recently published post from NORML’s Paul Armentano entitled Four Reasons Why the MORE Act Vote Is a Really Big Deal here.
The MORE Act became the first bill in US history to end federal marijuana prohibition to be approved in the House Judiciary Committee on November, 20th, 2019 with a bipartisan vote of 24-10.
NORML advocates for changes in public policy so that the responsible possession and use of marijuana by adults is no longer subject to criminal penalties. NORML further advocates for a regulated commercial cannabis market so that activities involving the for-profit production and retail sale of cannabis and cannabis products are safe, transparent, consumer-friendly, and are subject to state and/or local licensure. Finally, NORML advocates for additional changes in legal and regulatory policies so that those who use marijuana responsibly are no longer face either social stigma or workplace discrimination, and so that those with past criminal records for marijuana-related violations have the opportunity to have their records automatically expunged.