U.S. House reintroduces bill to decriminalize cannabis with stronger social justice measures

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The U.S. Congress is making moves on decriminalizing cannabis.

The House reintroduced the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act on Friday, which would decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. The legislation would also clear criminal records and create a social equity program to help those harmed by the war on drugs, to be overseen by a new Office of Cannabis Justice.

The historic legislation was first introduced last year, where it passed the House with overwhelming support. The version reintroduced last week contains stronger social justice measures, including removing language that would have denied federal permits to applicants with felony cannabis convictions.

The bill was introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.

"Since I introduced the MORE Act last Congress, numerous states across the nation, including my home state of New York, have moved to legalize marijuana," Nadler said in a statement. "Our federal laws must keep up with this pace."

The bill failed to advance last year in the Senate but a second Senate bill is expected to be introduced later this year with the backing of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The war on drugs has disproportionately affected Black and brown communities. While 17 states (including Michigan) and Washington, D.C., have legalized cannabis for adult use, the fact that cannabis is considered a Schedule 1 drug by the federal government has created confusion.

According to the bill, legal cannabis sales totaled $20 billion last year.

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About The Author

Lee DeVito

Leyland "Lee" DeVito grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, where he read Metro Times religiously due to teenaged-induced boredom. He became a contributing writer for Metro Times in 2009, and Editor in Chief in 2016. In addition to writing, he also supplies occasional illustrations. His writing has been published...
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