Far past debate, this was a vote on a bill (MORE) that could result in full legalization.
In an historical moment, the Congressional Committee has just approved a bill that would end the prohibition of cannabis in America!
The vote passed 24-10 on Wednesday, November 20, 2019. This means that MORE (Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement) moves to a full floor vote.
Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced the legislation that commits to descheduling cannabis and expunging the records of s0-called cannabis criminals. Nadler also proposed that the five percent tax on every cannabis purchase be applied to communities ravaged by an unjust drug war.
“These steps are long overdue. For far too long we’ve treated marijuana as a criminal justice problem instead of a matter of personal choice and public health,” Nadler said in his opening remarks. “Arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating people at the federal level is unwise and unjust.”
Republicans Prefer STATES Over MORE
Republican lawmakers gave some resistance, arguing that the bill was rushed and that additional hearings were needed. This was countered by the Democratic perspective that there has been plenty of debate and the time has come to address the damages of prohibition.
It seems the GOP is more comfortable with a bit of legislation termed the STATES Act. The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act leaves out much of the reparation pieces and leaves cannabis law in the hands of individual states. The largest problem with STATES is that it calls for cannabis to remain on the list of Controlled Substances. This is something that is unacceptable to cannabis advocates, patients, and consumers alike.
MORE Still Has To Pass Through Dangerous GOP Waters
Still, there are many hurdles to jump. Remember, it was two months ago, on September 25th (2019) that the House approved a bill (SAFE banking Act) that offered banking protection for cannabis business. The legislation aimed to correct some federal regulation that left cannabis relying on a mostly cash-based economy. This left them vulnerable to theft and unable to take advantage of the banking perks that other American business are able to access, including loans. The bill easily passed the House but it now collects dust in the Upper Chamber. Will MORE experience the same fate?
MORE is still vulnerable though. The GOP Senate could squash it as it comes in the door. In fact, many pundits are expecting just that. Even Nadler himself worries that this vote will require compromises more in line with the STATES Act.
But, all of this is future talk. Today, we celebrate!
More to come on this developing story.