Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives have delayed a vote on a marijuana decriminalization bill that was scheduled for next week, bowing to pressure from moderates in the party who want lawmakers to focus first on COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts. A vote on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act will instead occur later this year, according to party leadership.
“Right now, the House is focused relentlessly on securing agreement to stave off a damaging government shutdown and continuing to do its job addressing the COVID-19 pandemic,” House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said in a statement. “Later this autumn, the House will pass the MORE Act with strong support as yet another crucial step toward making our justice system fair for all Americans.”
If passed, the bill would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and allow the states to set their own cannabis regulation policies. The bill would also expunge convictions for many federal marijuana-related offenses and levy a 5% commercial cannabis tax which would be invested in communities that have borne the brunt of the harm caused by the failed War on Drugs.
“The MORE Act remains a critical component of House Democrats’ plan for addressing