The Marijuana Justice Coalition wants cannabis reform now.
The time for cannabis law reform is now. That’s the jist of a July 21 letter sent by the Marijuana Justice Coalition to congress in emphatic support of the MORE Act of 2019 (H.R. 3884). MORE is an acronym for Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment & Expungement, which encompasses wide-ranging reforms when it comes to the criminalization of cannabis and the social and economic fallout of the war on drugs.
Citing the present nationwide reckoning when it comes to unjust law enforcement practices, as well as the social and economic damage COVID-19 has wreaked disproportionately on Black and Brown communities, the letter states that “marijuana reform [is] a modest first step at chipping away at the war on drugs [and] is more relevant and more pressing than ever before.”
Cannabis reform is a multifaceted issue.
Some of the suggested reforms in the MORE Act include:
- Decriminalizing cannabis at the federal level by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act
- Requiring federal courts to expunge arrests and convictions related to cannabis and to resentence those still in custody
- The government would no longer be able to withhold federal benefits, student aid, or security clearances because of cannabis use
- A 5% excise tax on manufacturers that would fund legal services, job training, and substance misuse treatment to individuals who have been most adversely affected by the war on drugs
- Data collection from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that will help ensure equitable participation in the industry going forward
The letter sent by the Marijuan Justice Coalition is supported by more than a dozen organizations, including the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, Center for American Progress, NORML, and the Drug Policy Alliance, among others.
It follows a July 9th statement detailing the imperative need to address the disproportionate impact of anti-drug laws on communities of color, citing the fact that prohibition results in 600,000 arrests annually, and that Black individuals are more than 4 times likely to be arrested than their white counterparts for partaking in the same actions.
Their statement points out broad support for federal legalization and decriminalization of cannabis: “An ever-growing majority of American voters—68% percent—support marijuana legalization, according to a 2018 Center for American Progress and GBA Strategies poll. Even higher, 73% of American voters support the automatic sealing of marijuana offenses.”
The MORE Act was introduced by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York and Marijuana Moment reports that the bill may make it to the floor for a vote as early as September 2020.