Washington, D.C. –Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, by a vote of 228-164.The MORE Act, introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), is one of the most comprehensive marijuana reforms bills ever to be introduced in the U.S. Congress, reported favorably out of the House Judiciary Committee, and passed by the House of Representatives. The MORE Act aims to correct the historical injustices of failed drug policies that have disproportionately impacted communities of color and low-income communities by decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level, reassessing marijuana convictions, and investing in local communities. U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced the companion bill in the Senate.
“I am extremely proud that my legislation, the MORE Act, passed in the House of Representatives today with a historic, bipartisan vote,” said Chairman Nadler. “For far too long, we have treated marijuana as a criminal justice problem instead of as a matter of personal choice and public health. Growing recognition in the states show that the status quo on this issue is unacceptable. My legislation will reverse the failed policy of criminalizing marijuana on the federal level and will take long overdue steps to address the heavy toll the War on Drugs has taken across the country, particularly on communities of color. I want to thank Representatives Barbara Lee and Earl Blumenauer for their longstanding leadership on this issue, and I urge the Senate to take up this important legislation.”
The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act:
- Decriminalizes marijuana at the federal level by removing the substance from the Controlled Substances Act. This applies retroactively to prior and pending convictions, and enables states to set their own policy.
- Establishes a tax regime for cannabis products, including excise and occupational taxes. These taxes are established in order to create an Opportunity Trust Fund, which includes three grant programs:
- The Community Reinvestment Grant Program: Provides services to the individuals most adversely impacted by the War on Drugs, including job training, re-entry services, legal aid, literacy programs, youth recreation, mentoring, and substance use treatment.
- The Cannabis Opportunity Gran Program: Provides funds for loans to assist small businesses in the marijuana industry that are owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
- The Equitable Licensing Grant Program: Provides funds for programs that minimize barriers to marijuana licensing and employment for the individuals most adversely impacted by the War on Drugs.
- Ensures that the Department of Transportation and the Coast Guard may continue to issue regulations and test for the unauthorized presence of or illegal use of marijuana by certain transportation employees in sensitive safety positions.
- Emphasizes that the expungement of marijuana offenses is limited to non-violent marijuana offenders, and bars leaders and organizers (“kingpins”) convicted of federal marijuana offenses from obtaining expungement of those offenses.
- Opens up Small Business Administration funding for legitimate cannabis-related businesses and service providers.
- Provides non-discrimination protections for marijuana use or possession, and for prior convictions for a marijuana offense:
- Prohibits the denial of any federal public benefit (including housing) based on the use or possession of marijuana, or prior conviction for a marijuana offense.
- Provides that the use or possession of marijuana, or prior conviction for a marijuana offense, will have no adverse impact under the immigration laws.
- Requires the Bureau of Labor Statistics to collect data on the demographics of the industry to ensure people of color and those who are economically disadvantaged are participating in the industry.
- Directs the Comptroller General to conduct a study and report to Congress concerning the societal impacts of the legalization of recreational cannabis by states and concerning the uses of marijuana and its byproducts for purposes relating to the health, including the mental health, of veterans.
The MORE Act is supported by more than 130 organizations, including the NAACP, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, SEIU, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Drug Policy Alliance, ACLU, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, National Association of Social Workers, National Employment Law Project, National Organization for Women, Moms Rising, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National Juvenile Justice Network, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, and Cannabis Trade Federation.
To read Chairman Nadler's statement for the Congressional Record in support of H.R. 3884, the MORE Act, please click here.
Full text of H.R. 3884, the MORE Act can be found here.