The US House of Representatives Friday passed a bill that would decriminalize marijuana by removing it from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act. HR 3617 passed with a 220-204 vote. The bill would replace statutory references to marijuana with cannabis.
In addition to decriminalization, the bill establishes a trust fund to support programs and services for individuals and businesses in communities impacted by the war on drugs. These would include job training, reentry services, literacy programs, and youth programs. The bill also establishes an excise and occupational tax on products and production facilities to support the trust fund. It also establishes a process to expunge convictions and conduct sentencing review hearings related to non-violent federal cannabis offenses.
Democrat Rep. Jerrold Nadler from New York is the primary sponsor of the bill. In a statement of support, Nadler stated:
The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, or the “MORE Act,” is long overdue legislation that would reverse decades of failed federal policies based on the criminalization of marijuana. It would also take steps to address the heavy toll these policies have taken across the country, particularly among communities of color. For far too long, we have treated marijuana as a criminal justice problem instead of as a matter of personal choice and public health.
The bill will now go to the Senate. The House passed HR 3884, a practically identical bill in 2020, which died in the Senate.