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Congress Alert

The ‘Democrats-only’ Marijuana Legalization Bill is Back in the US House of Representatives


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Over the last two years, I wrote several times regarding the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, a bill that sought to legalize marijuana on the national level in a way that appeared to ensure almost no Republican House of Representatives or Senate members would support it. In particular, I pointed out how Republican legislators would tend to dislike the bill’s race-based provisions and marijuana business subsidies.

The MORE Act was introduced in the House of Representatives last Congress by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and the Drug Policy Alliance claimed it had drafted the bill.

With a new Congress having begun in January, the old MORE Act is gone. But, the story does not end there. On Friday, Nadler reintroduced the MORE Act in the new Congress.

What to expect with the new MORE Act? A replay of what we saw with the old MORE Act it seems, given that both the old and new bills contain extraneous provisions that give Republican Congress members good reason to say “no thanks” despite well above majority support in America, even lately among Republicans, for ending the US government’s marijuana prohibition. Last year, the MORE Act passed in the House with just a handful of Republican votes before going nowhere in the Senate.

While Democratic leadership can push the MORE Act through the House like it did last year, Jacob Sullum writes in his new Reason article “Do Democrats Realize They Need Republican Support To Legalize Marijuana?” that the prospects for the bill are again not so good in the Senate:
A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that 69 percent of Americans, including 78 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of Republicans, support marijuana legalization. But with the Senate evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, the prospects for Nadler's bill are dim, especially because it is loaded with contentious provisions that go far beyond legalizing marijuana.
Sullum proceeds in his article to ask if the Democrats are “actually trying to end the federal war on weed, or are they just trying to make a statement and score political points.” Good question.

Sullum’s article provides details about several provisions of the MORE Act that many Republican Congress members are sure to find troublesome. You can read Sullum’s article here.


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