House To Vote On MORE Act This September

by Taylor Engle

Ever since the Controlled Substances Act was voted law in 1970, cannabis has been classified as a Schedule I drug on a federal level. Alongside drugs like heroin, MDMA, and LSD, cannabis has remained under this category for the past 50 years — but that may finally change.

This September, the House of Representatives will vote on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act — a.k.a., the MORE Act. The MORE Act, first introduced by Representative Jarrold Nadler (D-NY) with a companion bill by Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), would declassify cannabis as a Schedule I drug and remove it entirely from the Controlled Substances Act, a groundbreaking concept for the cannabis community. Additionally, the Act will work to expunge some cannabis-related criminal records and legalize cannabis on a federal level (although it will still be up to the states to determine legality within their jurisdictions). 

Under the Controlled Substances Act, drugs that are classified as Schedule I are defined as having no medical benefit, with a high potential for abuse. When the CSA was passed half a century ago, “reefer madness” stigma and paranoia about cannabis was at a fever pitch.  Increasing presence of and demand for medical cannabis throughout the nation within the last decade has led to a greater debate over whether cannabis should remain a Schedule I substance.

Since the initial classification in 1970, no additional vote has been made toward reform. Subsequently, countless people have served time in prison over the years for something as small as having cannabis seeds on their person. The passage of the MORE Act would begin to right the wrongs committed by the ‘War on Drugs’ specifically as they relate to those with cannabis-related criminal records that have held them back from certain jobs or other opportunities. 

If the MORE Act passes and cannabis is declassified from the Controlled Substances Act, it will remain up to the states to determine rules and regulations regarding the production, sale, and marketing of cannabis products. 

There are currently 11 states with fully legal adult-use cannabis markets, and only eight states with no form of legal cannabis — medical or otherwise. The remaining states have laws everywhere in between, from medically-prescribed CBD-only products to full medical access with decriminalized adult-use permissions. The MORE Act may encourage these states to swing further in the direction of full legalization.

The MORE Act will also have a revolutionary effect on the Veterans Administration, finally permitting its physicians to make medical cannabis recommendations to any qualifying veteran who resides in a legal state. 

Additionally, the Act will allow the Small Business Administration to support businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the legalization process by establishing social equity programs — the first bill to do so. The Act will also set the federal tax at five percent, with all proceeds going toward expungement funding and cannabis research, which has been severely lacking throughout the years due to the plant’s federal status. 

If passed, the bill will be accompanied by the creation of the Cannabis Justice Office, the first federal office dedicated to addressing cannabis-related issues. However, the bill will still have to make it through the Senate to determine whether the MORE Act will become law. 

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5 comments

Jan September 1, 2020 - 6:41 am

I see nothing wrong with it. Alcohol is much worse. Alcohol is major addictive, pot, not so much. Just crush it to screw the Demonbrats from making all the kick backs they plan to get for passing into law. I’m for it, but Demonbrats have gone too far. Get them where it hurts! They’re already counting that money just like they were when they thought Killary would be President. They can’t stand no, tell them no! ?

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Dr. Kyron Tamar September 1, 2020 - 8:47 am

As a 70yr. old, semi-retired, board certified, General Surgeon, I have studied science my entire life. Having studied the history and the science of medical cannabis over the past few decades, it becomes more absurd that we are finally talking this…so late in the scheme of things…about legalization, descheduling, and expungement of crimes related to possession of this safe, 12,000 yr. old medicine. Israel leads the world in cannabis research! Let’s use their data (50yrs. old – Dr. Raphael Mechoulam- the “Father of Medical Cannabis)

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Kita B September 1, 2020 - 9:59 am

This has already started happening with our President, legalizing hemp. A far more profitable plant that hosts a list of accomplishments. We could be reversing our ecological human print by eradicating plastics and using hemp. Sure this sounds great but more Kamala rhetoric. She has been famously known for bending the rules so why allow her and her cronies access to a Cannabis Justice Office especially when we can see the mismanagement of funding in California? We have already seen the likes of that cronyism in San Francisco Bay Area. When marijuana was legalized, the democrats put legalization off for a year in order to introduce marijuana as a commodity for stock brokers. When it was established and started making money being traded, it was then allowed for society to get permits.
We need to fully oversee the Cannabis Justice Office because why does a plant have so many rules and regulations , when its main goal is to heal? This very thing happened when we legalized marijuana in the states, some states eradicated medical marijuana and then the patients suffered. Regulations again killed the healing.

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j September 2, 2020 - 12:29 pm

Cannibis is a tool with multiple uses, that much is certain. It should not be legalised because that term allows taxation and regulation. It should not be decriminalised for the same reason. It should be declassified and given the same status as mint, roses, lawn clippings and all other plants.
The FDA doesn’t allow natural substances to be patented because that would control the use of Nature, monopolising it for profit and control of its use.
It is tied in with the War on Drugs, and look where that has gotten us. We have a large number of addicts, and crime has gone up because dealers are defending their turf, heroine addicts are stealing to get their next fix, and much more.
If drugs were legalised crime and disease would drop, people would get well, the incentive for many crimes would be removed. There would still be users, but no pushers to exacerbate the addiction rate.
The prisons for profit would shrivel, the Police force could be reduced, but the monied powers don’t want that. Crime is very profitable for some in the law enforcement industry..
-end rant.

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Crystal Campisi September 9, 2020 - 2:17 pm

It’s great to de-schedule cannabis, but adding federal TAXES?? No!! CA Medical users are already forced to shop in the illegal black market because taxes are at 35% (15% CA excise tax, 10% city tax, 10% sales tax). Now adding a 5% federal tax takes the total up to 40%!! That’s more than alcohol, tobacco or gasoline taxes! WHY should anyone pay 40% tax on what should be medicine for patients?? ALSO… for medical patients with Dr’s recommendations, these are prescriptions…. which are NOT subject to ANY taxes!!

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