The House of Representatives of the United States just voted to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level.
The MORE Act, a Democrat-led initiative, passed the necessary margin with a 224-204 vote on April 1, 2022. However, the Senate remains a visible hurdle. Read along as we discuss everything you need to know about the MORE Act — and why it’s so important.
What is the MORE Act?
The MORE Act, also known as the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, is a proposed piece of legislation that will remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act.
Furthermore, the MORE Act aims to reform criminal and social justice initiatives related to cannabis. From expungements of prior convictions to grant programs for those affected by the War on Drugs — the MORE Act is a substantial piece of legislation that can change the face of cannabis in the United States.
Below, we’ll summarize the key points of the MORE Act.
Federal Legalization of Cannabis
One of the most important aspects of the MORE Act is the fact that it would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, making it federally legal.
By making cannabis legal on the federal level, cannabis businesses would have access to banking and other benefits.
Expungement of Related Convictions
The MORE Act recognizes the fact that millions of individuals (primarily POC) have been subject to harsh prison terms for minor cannabis offenses.
If passed by the senate, the MORE Act would allow individuals convicted of nonviolent cannabis-related crimes to expunge their criminal records.
Access to Federal Benefits
Furthermore, the MORE Act would help cannabis businesses gain access to federal benefits.
Primarily, a cannabis-based business can apply for federal loans once the MORE Act passes in the senate. Ultimately, the MORE Act will provide cannabis brands with the same benefits that non-cannabis-based businesses enjoy.
Cannabis Tax and Grant Programs
The most important aspect of the MORE Act is the fact that it taxes cannabis sales and funnels a percentage towards grant programs.
The grant programs fall under three categories:
Community Reinvestment Grant Program
Cannabis Opportunity Program
Equitable Licensing Grant Program
All three of these programs are geared towards communities and individuals that were the most affected by the War on Drugs. Therefore, the MORE Act will produce grant programs that help individuals adversely affected by the United State’s current drug policy.
Most importantly, each of these grant programs will give those who never had a chance a shot at entering and prospering in the cannabis industry.
Lastly, the MORE Act will enable authorities to generate labor statistics that prove the disparity between White and Black cannabis business owners.
Currently, the vast majority of cannabis-based businesses are owned by White men. As such, the MORE Act hopes to increase the number of Black cannabis business owners via focused grant programs.
Who is Voting Against the MORE Act?
Although the MORE Act cleared a significant hurdle during the House vote — the Senate remains.
Currently, the Senate control is actually split between the two parties, with 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats and 2 Independents that vote Democrat. Still, many political analysts contend that the MORE Act is likely to fail once it reaches the Senate, due to several different obstacles.
Although there are a few Senate Republicans that would vote in favor of the MORE Act, the overwhelming majority of Republican Senators are still opposed to cannabis legalization.
Will the MORE Act Pass the Senate?
Although everyone is crossing their fingers for the MORE Act to pass — it’s highly unlikely.
As we mentioned above, the Senate is currently spilt between parties. However, in order for the MORE Act to pass, it would need to receive 60 votes in total, not just 51. This means that all Democrats as well as 10 Republicans would need to vote in favor of the Act, but currently only 3 Republicans are not openly opposed to the Act.
Therefore, will the MORE Act pass in the Senate? The likely answer is no. However, we’ll be happy to be wrong and see the MORE Act pass with a majority vote.
What Can You Do to Help the MORE Act?
If you want to do everything in your power to help the MORE Act pass — call your senator.
Although you won’t talk directly to your state’s senator — you can call their office and tell them that you want them to vote in favor. Remember, state senators represent you, so if you want your voice heard — get in touch with them today.