While you’re celebrating hump day this Wednesday possibly re-enacting that GEICO commercial (which we’re hope you’re not), the Judiciary Committee will likely be voting on whether to federally legalize marijuana.
And just a mere two months after the House overwhelmingly approved the SAFE Banking Act.
So maybe the wheels really are in motion. It’s definitely a good sign for advocates of cannabis reform.
The Early Reveal on Vote to Federally Legalize Marijuana
While speaking at a conference this past Saturday, a House Representative vaguely mentioned the upcoming committee consideration – though she gave no details.
Other sources provided those, although a Judiciary Committee spokesperson has not yet responded to inquiries about the pending vote.
A Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing in July that examined the connection between marijuana legalization and racial justice – a key talking point for many legalization advocates.
In fact, with all of the hullabaloo that followed the SAFE Banking Act, these same advocates were concerned that it would overshadow the importance of providing restorations for communities torn apart by the war on drugs.
They even asked that the vote on financial issues be delayed.
But top Democrats pledged that they would follow up the bill with more comprehensive cannabis legislation.
Which brings us to the MORE Act.
The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act
Advancing the MORE Act through committee and onto the House floor would make good on the pledge from those Democrats.
Sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the MORE Act would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and declassify it as a Schedule 1 drug where it currently sits with heroin, cocaine, opiates, and the other thugs of the drug world.
But even more importantly, the legislation sets aside funding to begin repairing the damage of the war on drugs – a battle that has been disproportionately waged against communities of color.
It would provide funding for job training and legal aid for people impacted by prohibition enforcement, as well as provide loans for small cannabis businesses that are owned and operated by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
The funding would also help to minimize barriers to licensing and employment in the legal industry and would be paid for with a new federal 5% tax on marijuana sales that would be instituted under the new legislation.
Finally, the MORE Act would also provide for re-sentencing and expungement of records for people previously convicted of cannabis offenses.
Furthermore, it would protect immigrants from being denied citizenship status over marijuana and prohibit federal agencies from denying public benefits or security clearances over marijuana use.
Sounds good and fair to us.
As is the case with its 55 cosponsors (54 of whom are Democrats) and Senator Kamala Harris – who is leading the Senate companion.
Which Brings Us to the Senate
It might come as a shock to you, but Harris’ companion legislation has not yet been scheduled for action in the GOP-controlled chamber.
Many feel that the Senate would favor something less-reaching. Far less-reaching, in fact. They feel that if there’s any chance that the Senate will EVER vote to legalize marijuana on the federal level, it has to start with proposing that state-approved cannabis activity be exempt from federal prohibition.
This specific proposal is called the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act. It wouldn’t deschedule marijuana. And it certainly wouldn’t address necessary measures to ensure equity in the legal industry for struggling communities.
It’s a very conservative measure, to be sure. But that’s precisely the point. It could pass in the Senate. And even the guy who lives in the White House has voiced support for it.
So yeah, while the wheels are in motion, they’re going slower than we’d like. But it may have to be enough.
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Whatever is decided in the vote to federally legalize marijuana this Wednesday, there’s no arguing that your current cannabis business needs the best marketing and public relations to stay in motion.
Contact us today to find out how to maximize your efforts.