Never Mind the Date, Passage of the MORE Act Is No Joke

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On April 1, 2022, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3617  ̶  the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act). This groundbreaking legislation, if passed in the Senate, would roll back more than 80 years of cannabis prohibition enforcement by decriminalizing and descheduling cannabis, providing for reinvestment in communities adversely impacted by the War on Drugs, and providing for expungement of certain non-violent cannabis offenses.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) first introduced the MORE Act on May 28, 2021, in efforts to “reverse the failed policy of criminalizing marijuana on the federal level” and to “address the heavy toll this policy has taken across the country, particularly on communities of color.” Prior to its presentation on the House floor, H.R. 3617 was presented in the Rules Committee meeting on March 30, 2022. Chairman of the House Rules Committee James McGovern (D-MA) highlighted in his opening remarks that passing the MORE Act would roll back the failed approach of the War on Drugs and would make restorative justice a reality for many Americans. He also noted that cannabis accounts for half of all drug arrests – most are arrested for possessing in small amounts – and that in today’s society, you are more than three times as likely to be arrested if you are Black. Pointedly, McGovern stated that “black and brown Americans use cannabis at roughly the same rate as everyone else, but if you look like me, you’re far less likely to face the same penalties.”

This act likely more aligns with the goals of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Sherrod Brown, which we noted in our analysis of the SAFE Banking Act. While we anticipate an uphill battle in the Senate, advocates remain hopeful that this long overdue legislation will receive enough bipartisan support to see significant changes that will allow those who have suffered from the “disproportionate collateral consequences” of cannabis prohibition enforcement to participate and benefit from the legal cannabis industry. 

We will provide updates as the legislation works through the Senate.

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Bradley’s Cannabis Industry team is a leading voice in the cannabis sector. The National Law Review recognized our team as a “Go-To Thought Leader” for Cannabis Industry Regulation in 2021. Our attorneys have presented on cannabis issues at conferences around the country and have been quoted in an array of legal and mainstream publications, from Law360 and Westlaw Journal to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Associated Press, and ABC News.