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Congress Takes a Historic Step on National Cannabis Legalization

Finally! #Congress is taking steps to nationally legalize cannabis. The #MOREAct is the #legalizationbill longtime advocates want to see #pass.

Huge progress is soon to be made considering the #drugpolicyreform in #America, House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to look at a bill to end #cannabis prohibition all across the nation.

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act or #MORE act, was introduced into Congress in late July, this bill would remove cannabis from the Controlled #Substances Act entirely. It would also look at past federal #marijuana convictions and invest in local communities with a 5% federal cannabis tax.

In the cannabis world, this is enormous progress for a plethora of reasons.

All of these things will happen under the MORE Act;

  • #Decriminalization of cannabis at the federal level, by removing it from the #ControlledSubstancesAct.

  • Require federal courts to #expunge prior and pending convictions, allow prior offenders to request expungement, and require courts,  to conduct re-sentencing hearings for those still under supervision.

  • It also allows states to set their own locally governed policies.

  • The bill would also introduce a 5% #salestax on cannabis and #cannabisproducts

This would create an Opportunity Trust Fund, which includes three grant programs:

  1. The Community Reinvestment Grant Program: This program would give services to individuals most negatively impacted by the #warondrugs, including job training, re-entry services, legal aid, literacy programs, youth recreation, mentoring, and substance-use treatment.

  2. The Cannabis Opportunity Grant Program: Would provide funds for loans to assist #smallbusinesses in the marijuana industry that are owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

  3. The Equitable Licensing Grant Program: Would provide funds for programs that minimize barriers to marijuana #licensing and employment for individuals most adversely impacted by the war on drugs. Open up small business administration funding for legitimate cannabis-related businesses and service providers.

The bill would also provide non-discrimination protection for marijuana use or possession, and for prior convictions for a marijuana offense, by:

  • Prohibiting the denial of any federal public benefit (including housing) based on the use or possession of marijuana, or past conviction for a cannabis offense.

  • Stating that the use or #possession of marijuana, or prior conviction for a marijuana offense, will have no adverse impact under #immigrationlaws.

  • Require the Bureau of Labor Statistics to collect data on the demographics of the industry to ensure people of color and those who are economically disadvantaged are participating in the industry.

So what happens next?

If the MORE Act passes through the House Judiciary Committee, the next step would be to come before the full #House for a conference leading to a debate and vote. It would still have to pass the #Senate in order to become law. Which definitely might be a little tougher.

The STATES Act is considered to be favorable in the Senate, as they are generally considered far more conservative on cannabis issues.

MORE Act vs. STATES Act

By bringing the MORE Act up for markup, a lead chair of the Judiciary Committee, sends an obvious signal that the new House #Democratic leadership will be supporting the MORE Act over its rival, the #STATESAct.

A number of advocates who work on capital hill have described the #STATES act as more of a starter set for legalization, something that allows politicians to examine and campaign the issue with out going all in. People that are thought to be serious about legalization, and social justice, consider STATES to be less efficient. The MORE Act is a much more precise measure seeking to eliminate cannabis #prohibition and the harm it's caused.

This is breakthrough legislation going further than any other federal cannabis bill in history, by helping repair the destruction and ensuring justice.

The bill started support from by Sen. Kamala Harris and Rep. Nadler, but in the the last few months, Rep. Barbara Leehas become the most identifiable advocate. #Harris is busy running for #president, and #Nadler represents a state still clinging to prohibition.

Lee represents a district around the city of #Oakland, a landmark in the cannabis world. Oakland started some of the first #medical marijuana #dispensaries and the creation of social equity cannabis licensing.

Some of the people #Lee represents are among the ones most harmed by the war on drugs and cannabis prohibition. She’s fighting extremely hard to make sure any nationwide legalization bill to include mending of all the harm prohibition has caused.

“As states continue to modernize how we regulate cannabis, Congress has a responsibility to ensure that our policies are fair, equitable, and inclusive,” “I’m pleased that this critical bill includes key tenets from my own legislation to right the wrongs of the failed and racist war on drugs by expunging criminal convictions, reinvesting in communities of color through restorative justice, and promoting equitable participation in the legal marijuana industry.” said by rep Lee.

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