The house judiciary committee took a landslide 24-10 vote to approve legislation that would eliminate federal penalties for cannabis, particularly communities of color who have been disproportionately hurt by drug enforcement to ensure they reap a share of legalization’s profit. Jerry Nadler, House Judiciary Committee Chair said in opening remarks, “ thousands of individuals, overwhelmingly people of color, have been subjected by the federal government to unjust prison sentences for marijuana offenses. This needs to stop.”
Third-rail for generations, legalization support has become a viral requirement among Democrats after blue-state voters mandated their own laws, and the congressional bill won votes on Wednesday from republicans as well. Among the cosponsors is Republican Rep Matt Gaetz of Florida. The legalization tide has swept past Joe Biden.
The bill has support from House Speaker Nancy Palosi, a spokesperson from the top house Democrat told Buzzfield News this week, which bodies well for passage of it reaches a vote from the full chamber.
Introduced by Nadler, the MORE Act is an amalgamation of several bills floated by Democrats in recent years. The fact that this particular measure emerged at the party’s consensus shows Democrat social justice to be a innogotiable component of legalization. In essence, they have declared that merely removing penalties for the drug is not enough. Expunging criminal records and carving out a place for people of color in the cannabis economy is considered essential.
The MORE Act would eliminate penalties for cannabis and THC. It’s primary psychoactive ingredient, at the federal level by removing the drug from the Controlled Substances Act. Decriminalization would be applied to both previous and pending convictions. It would further allow states to set their own policies by removing the risk of federal intervention. 11 states has legalized marijuana for adult recreational use, including to authorize growing and sales. Vermont allows use and home cultivation, but has not authorized commercialized sales or growing.
The MORE Act would mandate that federal courts erase past convictions from criminal records and require courts to hold hearings to resentence anyone under correctional supervision. Cannabis could no longer be used to deny citizenship to immigrants or bar them from receiving medical benefits, such as housing.
“We have been absolutely shut out of this business,” Rep Hank Johnson if Georgia said Wednesday.
One of the lobbying groups since the 1970’s and. Backer of the MORE Act, the National Organization for the Reform if Marijuana Law (NORML), said the bills passage through committee was “unprecedented.” The groups political director, John Strekal, called on “The Full House to vote and have every member of Congress show their constituents which side of history they stand on.