In a historic move, the House of Representatives will vote on the Reinvestment and Elimination of Marijuana Opportunities Act (MORE) this month, Politico reports. The bill would defuse cannabis (marijuana) and therefore decriminalize it at the federal level. Unfortunately, because of the Republican opposition in the Senate, the bill doesn’t stand the best chance of reaching Congress. But the fact that it has come to this – and that it is actually being voted on – is a big deal.
Thanks to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, drugs in the United States are classified on a schedule based on their potential for abuse, knowledge of their effects, and the medicinal value they have, explains the Drug Enforcement Agency. Currently, cannabis is on Appendix I, its most restrictive classification, meaning that the government believes it has high potential for abuse and no medicinal value.
The original decision to add cannabis to Appendix I was shaped far more by racism and xenophobia than by scientific evidence. And based on what we̵
The MORE bill, sponsored by Senate Vice-Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, would remove cannabis from planning and more. The bill would also take some action to address the harm caused by the cannabis ban. It would obliterate previous non-violent arrests and convictions related to cannabis related to cannabis and seal it up for those currently not serving their sentences. Those currently serving prison terms for federal arrests or convictions of cannabis would have the option to have their sentences reviewed and possibly delete their records and waive their sentences.
It would also create a community reinvestment grant program that would fund vocational training, health education, youth care programs and legal aid “for those hardest hit by the war on drugs”. In addition, the bill would establish a cannabis justice bureau to ensure the implementation of these programs.
A federal rescheduling of cannabis would effectively decriminalize it across the country, but individual states would still have the power to legalize it themselves (or not). So passing this bill would not mean that weeds suddenly become legal everywhere. However, this means that states that have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational (adult) use needn’t worry about the federal government interfering with their legal cannabis practices.
“The passage of the MORE bill is essential to truly correct the injustice of federal marijuana criminalization and to allow once and for all the majority of states that have legalized cannabis for medical or adult use to free from this policy Accept threat Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, said in a statement.
While the MORE bill may never become law, it shows just how much public and political opinion has changed regarding the legalization of cannabis – and marks an important step forward in addressing the past and ongoing harms of the war on drugs address that continue to disproportionately affect color communities.
“We believe that responsible regulation and control of marijuana is more beneficial to society and public health than prohibition and criminalization,” reads an open letter organized by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and published on 16 November 2010 Organizations and over 100 people, including epidemiologists and public health experts.
“What is imperative for the MORE Act is that it help communities avoid the very real damage they face every day from the criminalization and enforcement of our marijuana laws – especially black, Latin American, indigenous and low-income communities “says Danielle Ompad. Ph.D., assistant dean of education and associate professor of epidemiology at the NYU School of Global Public Health, who also signed the DPA letter, said in a statement, “The federal ban is a total failure and has only helped that Deteriorating Publicity We have waited far too long and it is important that Congress act now. “