House Judiciary Committee Agrees We Need MORE with Historic Vote Clearing Path to End Marijuana Prohibition

House Judiciary Committee Agrees We Need MORE with Historic Vote Clearing Path to End Marijuana Prohibition

MORE Act Becomes First Comprehensive Marijuana Bill to Ever Pass ANY Congressional Committee

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee voted to approve the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act). This historic step makes the MORE Act the first piece of comprehensive marijuana legislation to ever make it out of a congressional committee, and barring any other committees claiming jurisdiction, will be the first to ever receive a floor vote.

Below is yesterdays statement from the Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno:

“With today’s mark-up of the MORE Act, the United States is coming one step closer to ending the devastating harms of marijuana prohibition, which have fallen so heavily on Black and Brown people.

This legislation won’t make up for the full scale of harm that prohibition has caused to its victims. It’s not going to return anyone their lost dreams, time lost at the mercy of the criminal justice system; or the years spent away from their families. But this legislation is the closest we’ve come yet to not only ending those harms at the federal level, but also beginning to repair them. Now it’s up to Congress to do the right thing and swiftly pass the bill to ensure justice is not delayed a moment longer.”

More of Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno’s prepared remarks presented on Tuesday 11/19 at the House Judiciary Committee press conference:

“The United States’ decades of marijuana prohibition have come at a tremendous price. Prohibition has served as an excuse for heavy-handed policing, policies like “stop-and-frisk” in New York or civil asset forfeiture–the seizure of private property with little to no process, large-scale deportations, and incarceration. Even today, more than 650,000 people are arrested every year for marijuana offenses. Many of them carry the burden of a conviction for the rest of their lives, facing tremendous barriers to accessing jobs, housing, college loans, and more—some even lose the right to vote. Over the decades, millions have been impacted.

And those harms have not fallen equally on all Americans: instead, Black and Brown people have borne the brunt of them. Black people in particular are three times as likely as white people to be arrested for marijuana use, even though surveys indicate that they use marijuana at roughly the same rate—perhaps even less—than white people.

The reality is that marijuana prohibition has, for millions of Black and Brown people in the US, been the gateway to arrests, incarceration, loss of livelihoods and lives. Those are concrete, real harms, that affect real people every day. Continuing the status quo of prohibition is not just inaction: it means turning your back on those harms, and condemning hundreds of thousands every year to continuing that misery and oppression.

Yet in recent years, we’ve seen tremendous progress, with multiple states regulating marijuana for adult use. And the wonderful news is that so far the evidence shows that regulation is producing a range of benefits, from increased revenue for the state to stronger protections for consumers. Meanwhile, it has not led to increased marijuana use by teens or the other supposed harms that the critics had warned about.

At the same time, at the Drug Policy Alliance, we have kept our eye on the ball of both ending the devastating harms of prohibition and, to the extent possible, beginning to repair them. That’s why we have partnered with other national civil and human rights organizations to form the Marijuana Justice Coalition, which has worked to ensure that federal marijuana reform puts those who have been most harmed by prohibition front and center.

That’s also why we have worked closely with groundbreaking leaders in the House, like Representative Barbara Lee, Chairman Jerry Nadler, Chairwoman Maxine Waters, Chairman Jim McGovern, and I am delighted today to stand with them in support of the MORE Act, which is the most robust marijuana reform legislation introduced at the federal level to date. The bill includes key elements to allow states to move forward with marijuana regulation, but also to ensure that the communities most harmed by prohibition are not left behind, but also benefit from marijuana reform.

The MORE Act recognizes that marijuana reform is fundamentally a matter of justice. I’m so pleased that it is now coming up for a mark-up, and I encourage all members of Congress to support it.”

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Contact Info: Matt Sutton, Director of Media Relations for Drug Policy Alliance at Landline: 212.613.8026 or by Cellphone: 915.227.5680 or by email at msutton@drugpolicy.org

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Related Video added by TLB Staff:

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This article (House Judiciary Committee Agrees We Need MORE with Historic Vote Clearing Path to End Marijuana Prohibition) was originally created by Drug Policy Alliance and is republished here with permission and attribution to www.drugpolicy.org.

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