House Judiciary Committee Approves Bill To End Federal Marijuana Prohibition
In a 24-10 vote, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would effectively end marijuana prohibition on Wednesday. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019, or H.R. 3884, was introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and currently has 55 co-sponsors. This is the first time that a congressional committee has approved a bill to make cannabis legal. The MORE Act would federally decriminalize cannabis by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act, and would require the expungement of past federal cannabis convictions.
The bill would also establish a Cannabis Justice Office to administer a program to reinvest resources in the communities that have been most detrimentally impacted by prohibition, funded by a 5% tax on state-legal cannabis commerce.
Moreover, it will allow the Small Business Administration to provide loans and grants to cannabis-related businesses and support state and local equity licensing programs, and would permit doctors within the Veterans Affairs system to recommend medical cannabis to patients in accordance with applicable state laws.
“Today’s vote marks a turning point for federal cannabis policy, and is truly a sign that prohibition’s days are numbered,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). “Thanks to the diligent efforts of advocates and lawmakers from across the political spectrum, we’ve seen more progress in this Congress than ever before. Supermajority public support for legalization, increasing recognition of the devastating impacts of prohibition on marginalized communities and people of color, and the undeniable success of state cannabis programs throughout the country are all helping to build momentum for comprehensive change in the foreseeable future,” Smith continued.
A Pew Research Center survey released last week showed record support for making marijuana legal, with 67% of all adults in favor of legalization – including a majority of Republican respondents. A recent amendment to the bill included the addition of language contained in the Realizing Equitable & Sustainable Participation in Emerging Cannabis Trades (RESPECT) Resolution introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). This resolution was the basis for a paper released by NCIA earlier this year on specific policy goals that can help ensure fairness and equal representation in the cannabis industry.
“There is still much work to be done, including the establishment of sound federal regulations for cannabis products,” said Smith. “This vote brings us one step closer to ending the disaster that is prohibition and repairing the harms it has caused while we continue the discussion in Congress about how to best regulate cannabis at the federal level. We urge lawmakers to move forward with this necessary bill without delay.”
House Judiciary Committee Approves Bill to End Marijuana Prohibition. Historic vote marks the first time the committee has approved comprehensive legislation to remove cannabis from the schedule of controlled substances and address harms caused by prohibition.
Cannabis Decriminalization and Research Bills Introduced
Legislation would end federal prohibition and mandate study on the effects of state cannabis programs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A pair of bills was introduced today by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK), adding to a steadily increasing slate of cannabis-related legislation being submitted to Congress for consideration this year. The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and effectively allow states to determine their own cannabis policies and put an end to federal cannabis prosecutions. The Marijuana Data Collection Act would require the National Academy of Sciences to study and report on the status of state cannabis programs and their impact on public health, safety, and the economy.
“We are grateful to Representatives Gabbard and Young for adding to the bipartisan chorus of voices in Congress calling for cannabis policy reform by introducing these bills,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “States should be able to make their own cannabis laws without fear of federal interference, and lawmakers deserve to see comprehensive research on what an increasing number of states are already proving – that regulating cannabis works.”
“We look forward to a study conducted by an independent federal agency that isn’t invested in continuing marijuana prohibition,” Smith continued. “Lawmakers and regulators at the state and federal level will benefit from a study that takes a serious look at the effects of making cannabis legal for medical and adult use. There is already plenty of evidence showing that regulation is working in the states, but we need to look at the potential public health and economic impacts of further reforms, and the real costs of continuing to ban a substance that has proven medical benefits and whose prohibition continues to cause massive societal harms.”
Both bills are reintroductions from last year, when they received bipartisan support in the House. In that session, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act had 39 cosponsors, and the Marijuana Data Collection Act had 34 cosponsors.
Cannabis is legal for adults in ten states and the District of Columbia, and 33 states as well as several territories have effective medical cannabis laws. The substance is legal in some form in 47 states.
Cannabis Decriminalization and Research Bills Introduced Legislation would end federal prohibition and mandate study on the effects of state cannabis programs WASHINGTON, D.C. – A pair