Co-Sponsor H.R. 3884, Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment & Expungement (MORE) Act
October 8, 2019
CO-SPONSOR H.R. 3884, MARIJUANA OPPORTUNITY REINVESTMENT & EXPUNGEMENT (MORE) ACT
On behalf of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national organizations committed to promoting and protecting the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States we urge you to co-sponsor H.R. 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. House Judiciary Chairman Nadler recently introduced the MORE Act, bipartisan legislation supported by the Marijuana Justice Coalition as well as over 100 national and state organizations that all urge the House to swiftly advance comprehensive marijuana policy that addresses criminal justice reform, racial justice, and equity.
Two weeks ago, the House voted 321 to 103 in favor of H.R. 1595, the SAFE Banking Act, which amends federal law to allow banks and other financial institutions to offer financial services to marijuana businesses. While this legislation is an incremental step toward rolling back the federal war on marijuana, it lacks provisions to help communities that have been historically and disproportionately devastated by United States’ punitive drug laws.
The vote on H.R. 1595 signals a positive shift in House members’ attitudes toward marijuana, however, as House Majority Leader Hoyer rightfully notes, this does not go nearly far enough. The war on marijuana has been a war on people, disproportionately Latinx and African American communities, veterans, noncitizens, and low-income individuals and families. It would be extremely disappointing for the only marijuana reform that passes the House this Congress to be one that benefits the industry and leaves behind communities still dealing with the devastating impact of federal prohibition.
The MORE Act addresses the equity and criminal justice reform consequences of the failed war on drugs. It removes marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. This provision alone will enable states to set their own regulatory policies without threat of federal interference, open up the ability to conduct much needed research on marijuana, and allow veterans to access medical marijuana without consequence through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, in addition to a slew of other benefits that will follow de-scheduling.
Most importantly, the MORE Act takes significant steps to right the wrongs of marijuana criminalization. It includes federal expungement and resentencing for previous marijuana offenses. It prevents the denial of public benefits due to an individual’s marijuana use or previous conviction. The MORE Act also protects noncitizens from deportation or denial of citizenship due to marijuana use or a previous conviction. Lastly, it establishes a Trust Fund, paid for by a modest 5% tax on the industry, which will create various grant programs. The grant programs include funding dedicated to helping socially and economically disadvantaged people enter the industry and a community reinvestment fund meant to funnel money into communities disproportionately harmed by marijuana enforcement, funding services targeting reentry, youth development, workforce development, substance misuse treatment, and other services.
Prior to and after the vote on the SAFE Banking Act, several members in House leadership (Majority Leader Hoyer, Chairwoman Waters, Chairman McGovern) made public calls to swiftly advance the MORE Act, including Chairman Nadler himself announcing that he will hold a vote soon in Committee. We strongly urge you to join Chairman Nadler and other congressional leaders as a co-sponsor of the MORE Act and to be a part of this historic opportunity to address the decades of harm faced by communities of color and low-income communities due to failed marijuana policies.
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of this matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Ashley Lawrence at [email protected] or 202-263-2853.
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