The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act is one step closer to becoming the law of the land. The House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee voted November 20 to pass the historic bill, which would put an end to marijuana prohibition. The bill now moves to a full House vote.
MORE would remove marijuana from the list of Schedule I controlled substances, expunge the records of people with marijuana convictions, and impose a 5% tax on marijuana sales, to be reinvested in communities most impacted by the war on drugs, reported CNBC.
“It deschedules the cannabis plant, thereby leaving regulatory decisions regarding medical cannabis access entirely up to individual state and local governments absent undue federal interference,” says Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, a group working to reform marijuana laws.
By descheduling cannabis, the bill would allow licensed medical cannabis dispensaries to borrow money from financial institutions and use banking services (many dispensaries are cash-only businesses now), removing existing barriers to running a cannabis business.
MORE would also allow access to medical marijuana for veterans through the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). Currently VA doctors cannot help veterans get medical marijuana, but the law would allow them to recommend medical cannabis.
It would also protect immigrants from being denied citizenship over marijuana use and ban federal agencies from denying public benefits or security clearance due to cannabis use.
According to a new poll by the respected Pew Research Center, 67% of Americans now support legalizing marijuana.