U.S. lawmakers are gearing up to vote on whether marijuana should be removed from the Controlled Substances Act in a landmark committee hearing this week.
The House Judiciary Committee has posted a markup for HR 3884, cited as the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019. It aims to decriminalize and de-schedule marijuana at a federal level, while reimbursing individuals adversely impacted by the war on drugs and expunging certain cannabis convictions.
The markup is set for Wednesday, Nov. 20, and a vote in the House Judiciary Committee could take place on that day or soon thereafter. That would start the ball rolling on the process decriminalizing cannabis at a national level.
“This has never happened in the history of our country and it is thanks to all the time and effort folks have put in for decades,” said Erik Altieri, executive director at campaign group NORML (the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws).
He added that the MORE Act is no mere half measure and that it contains many important reforms. NORML has created a page that allows Americans to write to their representatives urging them to support the MORE Act.
It would remove marijuana and THC from the Controlled Substances Act and incentivize states to create expungement policies for residents with minor cannabis-related convictions. It would also set up a program run by the Small Business Administration, which would assist small cannabis businesses owned by economically and socially disadvantaged Americans.
The MORE Act would also allow physicans linked to the Veterans Administration to offer cannabis for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, pain management and anxiety if they live in states where medical marijuana is legal.
Harris is a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, but she has become a considerable outsider after losing momentum in recent weeks. She was previously opposed to marijuana legalization, but she now joins the likes of Bernie Sanders in supporting it.
Joe Biden, second in the betting to win the nomination after Elizabeth Warren, has just said he would not legalize marijuana for recreational purposes as he fears it could become a gateway drug.