WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement after the House passage of H.R. 3917, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement, or MORE Act.
In the House of Representatives, the MORE Act is led by Progressive Caucus members: introduced by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) along with Representatives Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), and Nydia Velázquez (NY-07). The legislation decriminalizes marijuana, removes marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act, and enacts key racial, economic, and criminal justice measures. Progressives have led the fight in Congress for marijuana justice for over two decades, first introducing legislation to ban federal interference with state medical cannabis laws in 2001, and with the leadership of the ??Congressional Cannabis Caucus in 2017.
“Today, the House of Representatives advances a key progressive priority to end one of the most unjust vestiges of the racist war on drugs with the passage of the MORE Act. The House passage of this comprehensive bill is a victory for racial, economic, and criminal justice. Studies show a Black person is 3.64 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, even though Black and white people use marijuana at similar rates. Not only does the MORE Act decriminalize marijuana, but it also takes on mass incarceration by eliminating criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana, and establishing a process to expunge marijuana-related convictions. And it works to address the generational denial of economic opportunity that has resulted from the targeting of Black and Brown people through marijuana criminalization by prohibiting the denial of federal public benefits and of immigration protections based on marijuana conduct, and establishing a trust fund for individuals and businesses in impacted communities.
“The Progressive Caucus joins our colleagues in Congress, advocates across the country, and the overwhelming majority of Americans who support decriminalizing marijuana in celebrating today’s vote, and we will continue to work for the MORE Act to become law.”