A bill to federally legalize marijuana may be coming up for another House floor vote next week, a congressional staffer and a key advocate familiar with the discussions told Marijuana Moment on Wednesday.
But they emphasized that nothing is yet set in stone, despite recent calls from activists to bring the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) to the floor again this month.
Marijuana Moment reached out to staff with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Nadler for comment, but representatives were not immediately available.
Rumors of a floor vote—which would be the second time that the MORE Act reached the full chamber after being approved in 2020—are now circulating weeks after congressional Democrats held a closed-to-press session at a party retreat that included a panel that largely centered on the reform legislation.
Nadler’s bill, which would remove cannabis from the list of federally controlled substances and promote social equity, also cleared the Judiciary Committee this session in September.
Two sources told Marijuana Moment that they’re aware of high-level discussions about bringing the MORE Act to the floor again next week, but nothing has been officially announced. The prohibitionist group Smart Approaches To Marijuana also signaled that they’re aware of talks to put the bill before the full chamber imminently.
In addition to descheduling marijuana, the MORE Act would further allow people with past convictions to have their records expunged and create a federal tax on cannabis with the revenue going to support community reinvestment and other programs.
It also contains language to create a pathway for resentencing for those incarcerated for cannabis offenses, protect immigrants from being denied citizenship over marijuana and prevent federal agencies from denying public benefits or security clearance due to its use.
Meanwhile, advocates and stakeholders are eagerly awaiting the formal introduction of a separate Senate legalization bill that’s being finalized by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) etc. Schumer recently said the plan is to file that bill—the Cannabis Administration & Opportunity Act (CAOA)—in April.
In Congress, a separate bill to tax and regulate marijuana is also in play this session. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) is sponsoring that legislation, and she said in a recent interview that she’s received assurances from Democratic leaders that her States Reform Act will receive a hearing.
Photo courtesy of Brian Shamblen.