The vote on the MORE Act, which has great social justice implications, has been delayed until after the election.
Republicans seized on H.R. 3884, Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act to attack first-term Democrats from more moderate districts. They lied and conflated the Act with the “Defund the Police” movement, which, while similar, was not related to the MORE Act. Those Democrats sought a delayed to improve their electoral chances.
Among those concerned was Congressman Andy (D-NJ) who represents the 3rd Congressional District in South Jersey.
If implemented, the MORE Act would end the war on cannabis and begin to undo the damage of prohibition. It would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, expunge cannabis convictions, and reinvest in the communities hit hardest by prohibition.
“This decision means justice delayed for millions of Black, Latinx, Indigenous and low-income individuals disproportionately impacted by our country’s racist marijuana laws,” said Queen Adesuyi, Policy Manager, National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance
The Democratic-controlled House now wishes to hold the vote after the election. A lot of major bills were passed in the Lame Duck session. The film “Lincoln” shows this in 1864. In 2010, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was repealed in the Lame Duck session when Members of Congress who lost re-election or were retiring voted for it.
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is also not happy.
“This delay by the House does not change the fact that the overwhelming majority of voters support ending the federal prohibition of cannabis, including majorities of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said.
Legislating based on attack ads with less than two months ago is not an exact science.
“If you’re already motivated on the [idea that] the thundering hordes are coming over into your suburbs to take away your wife and imprison you in a socialist hell, I’m not sure being for [marijuana] is going to add any fuel to that fire,” said Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist.
Others believed passing it would have boosted turnout in Democrats’ favor since cannabis reform has substantial bipartisan support in polls.
According to NORML, the MORE Act recently gained new co-sponsors and likely had the support to pass the House floor with a bipartisan majority vote.
“This delay does not change the fact that 33 states and the District of Columbia regulate the production and distribution of medical cannabis in a manner that is inconsistent with federal policy, and that one-out-of-four Americans now reside in jurisdictions where adult-use is legal under state law,” Strekal said.
“Continued enforcement of marijuana prohibition laws is responsible for more than 600,000 arrests in the United States every year, disproportionately impacting Black and Brown people,” said Adesuyi.
Cannabis advocates know defeat all too well. Thus, it does not discourage them the way it would hurt other advocates.
“Although today’s news is a setback, we will continue to do everything we can to get it passed in the House this year,” said Adesuyi.
The MORE Act passed the House Judiciary Committee in a bipartisan vote last year.