U.S. House Judiciary Committee Legalizes Marijuana

The House Judiciary marked-up and approved H.R. 3617, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2021.

Last Congress, the House passed similar legislation in a bipartisan manner, however, the Senate did not consider the legislation.

The MORE Act would make three major changes to federal law. It would:

–Remove marijuana, or cannabis, from the list of federally controlled substances;

— Authorize the provision of resources, funded by a federal tax on marijuana sales, 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

— Provide for the expungement of Federal marijuana convictions and arrests.

Given that Democrats now control the Senate, there is a slim chance the legislation could move forward, however, the bill in its current form would need changes.

The wild card is also President Joe Biden. While he supports more modest reforms such as decriminalizing cannabis, expunging prior records and letting states set their own marijuana policies, he doesn’t support legalizing marijuana at the federal level.

It’s probably safe to say that this will continue to remain a political issue over the next several years.

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