The House Judiciary Committee gave the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act a boost when it recently passed a bill along party lines with a vote of 26-15. All 24 Democrats and two Republicans on the Committee voted in favor, while 15 Republicans voted against the measure.
The bill seeks to strike cannabis from the list of controlled substances, expunge federal cannabis convictions and allow cannabis sales with a federal tax. In his opening statement, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) called the legislation “long overdue” and said it would “reverse failed federal policies criminalizing marijuana.”
While there isn’t much support from Republican representatives, there is wide support among the public. An April 2021 Quinnipiac University poll found that 69 percent of Americans, across all political affiliations, favored cannabis legalization, with just 25 percent opposed. Another April 2021 poll from Pew Research Center, found that 60 percent of Americans supported support broad legalization, while 31 percent supported legalization strictly for medicinal use. Only 8 percent were in favor of full prohibition.
The legislation still needs to make its way through the House Agriculture Committee and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee before finally making its way to the full chamber.
It’s worth noting that last December, the House passed the bill in a mostly partisan 228-164 vote. But with Mitch McConnell as the Senate Majority Leader at the time, it never made it to the Senate floor. Although Democrats and Republicans are evenly split in the Senate currently, such a vote would require a supermajority of 67 percent. And with Republicans having trouble joining Democrats on even the most basic and fundamental things, like avoiding a government shutdown and whether to pay its own debts, in the end, there’s a high likelihood that the MORE Act may turn out to be little more than a legislative pipe dream.