The original plan to vote on a bill that would strike all forms of cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act has been delayed from September 21 to after the election. Leaders in the house made the decision after receiving scrutiny for attempting to vote the bill in before getting anything passed for COVID-19.
The bill is still viewed by democrats as an important step in fighting systemic racism and instilling social justice. The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act is being pushed forward by democrats as strongly as it is being opposed by republicans.
“I’m pleased to bring the MORE Act to the House Floor next month to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level,” House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer, told the press. “This legislation is an important step to correct the disproportionate impact our criminal justice system has had on communities of color.”
While the delay is disappointing to proponents of the bill, there is little change in faith that the momentum that the movement has received will slow down. Advocates for cannabis are excited about the conversation generated by this bill because it marks a possible change in policy from addressing cannabis on a state-by-state basis to national reform.
If the MORE Act were to pass in its current state it would legalize marijuana similarly to how hemp is legal now. This may mean fewer restrictions and fewer penalties for hemp farmers who farm hemp that tests hot. Even if it is legal nationwide, each state would get to choose how to enforce it and develop the industry.
The act also focuses on a 5% federal tax on cannabis products to create a social injustice relief fund. The hope is that the MORE Act would help communities that have been devastated by the war on drugs.