A congressional vote on a measure to legalize marijuana that was to be carried out in this week will no longer take place.
This comes a fortnight after Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that the vote was being planned for the week of September 21. Hoyer stated that the MORE Act remained an important part of the House Democrats’ plan that advanced criminal justice reform and addresses systemic racism. He added that they are committed to making sure the House votes on the bill before the year’s end.
However, at this time, the House is focused on addressing the coronavirus pandemic and securing agreement to avoid a detrimental government shutdown. Though no scheduled date has been confirmed, the House will, in the autumn, pass the MORE Act, which is a key step forward in making the U.S. justice system fair for all Americans.
It seems the decision to postpone the vote was greatly influenced by certain Democrats who expressed the concern that voting on a marijuana reform bill when coronavirus relief legislation has still not been resolved would hurt their re-election campaigns. Earlier last Tuesday, Hoyer stated that their priorities were a COVID-19 relief bill and approving a continuing resolution, but seemed to be on the fence about the MORE Act advancement to the House.
The speculation has now been confirmed though, the House will not be voting on the MORE Act this week.
Rep. Barbara Jean Lee (D-CA), the Congressional Cannabis Caucus co-chair said earlier on Wednesday that she was okay with delaying the MORE Act vote if that meant that more members would sign onto the bill. However, she recently said in an interview that lawmakers would do everything necessary in the coming week to build more support and ensure that the vote happened sooner, rather than later.
In a joint statement released on Thursday, Rep. Earl Francis Blumenauer and Rep. Barbara Lee stated that they had worked to build support for this historic bill and looked forward to a vote in the coming week.
The MORE Act would expunge the records of individuals who have prior cannabis convictions as well as federally deschedule marijuana. It would also open up alternative channels for the resentencing of individuals who have been jailed for cannabis offenses and defend immigrants from being denied citizenship over marijuana while also preventing federal agencies from denying security clearances or public benefits due to cannabis use.
Additionally, the MORE Act would impose a 5% state tax on marijuana sales and the revenue would be reinvested in the communities that were most affected by the drug war.
With more than two-thirds of Americans leaning in favor of legalizing marijuana, the House Vote on the bill is bound to pass with a majority, despite the delay.
This postponement of the widely anticipated vote is likely to be a disappointment to sector players like Pac Roots Cannabis Corp. (CSE: PACR) who have been longing for marijuana policy changes at the federal level.
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