The House is preparing to vote on a measure that aims to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level, reports Politico.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) announced the news in an email Friday stating congressional lawmakers are expected to vote on the The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act—aka the MORE Act—sometime next month. The bill would remove cannabis from from the Controlled Substances Act, incentive states to expunge prior cannabis-related convictions, and create grant programs for those who have been "adversely affected by the War on Drugs." However, the MORE Act, which was first introduced by House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), will not result in nationwide decriminalization, as it will allow each state to implement its own regulations regarding marijuana possession and sales.
According to the email obtained by Politico's Natalie Fertig, Clyburn asked House members to indicate their support or objection by Sept. 3.
"As people across the country protest racial injustices, there’s even greater urgency for Congress to seize this historic opportunity and finally align our cannabis laws with what the majority of Americans support, while ensuring restorative justice," Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), told Politico.
Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris is the lead sponsor of the Senate version of the MORE Act.
"Times have changed — marijuana should not be a crime. We need to start regulating marijuana and expunge marijuana convictions from the records of millions of Americans so they can get on with their lives," Sen. Harris said in a press release last month. "As marijuana becomes legal across the country, we must make sure everyone — especially communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs — has a real opportunity to participate in this growing industry. I am thrilled to work with Chairman Nadler on this timely and important step toward racial and economic justice."
The bill is likely to falter in the GOP-controlled Senate.