Blunt Rochester Votes to Federally Decriminalize Marijuana
Washington, December 4, 2020 | Andrew Donnelly (302-893-4406)
WASHINGTON - Today, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) voted to pass H.R. 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2020. The bipartisan piece of legislation removes marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act, takes significant steps to right the wrongs of federal marijuana criminalization by providing for the expungement and rescheduling of marijuana offenses, and establishes a tax structure for cannabis products.
“Since I’ve come to Congress, one of my top priorities has been reforming our broken criminal justice system. It’s why one of the first bills I introduced when I got to Washington was the Clean Slate Act. One of the most tragic and longest-lasting impacts of our system is the way in which our society treats marijuana offenses,” said Blunt Rochester. “From housing to education, to employment, too-often, nonviolent drug offenses act as a seemingly immovable barrier for too many Americans. It has been clear for some time from a scientific and criminal justice perspective that marijuana does not belong on the federal Controlled Substances list. That’s why I was proud to vote for the MORE Act, removing marijuana as a controlled substance, creating a new tax structure for cannabis products, and continuing the hard work of reversing the decades of damaging marijuana criminalization at the federal level. We still have much more work to do when it comes to criminal justice reform, but the passage of the MORE Act is a critical step in the right direction.”
H.R. 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2020 would:
· The Community Reinvestment Grant Program: This program will fund two types of services:
A variety of services targeted to those individuals adversely impacted by marijuana criminalization and their families. Under the program, a new Cannabis Justice Office within DOJ will provide funding to eligible non-profit community organizations to administer such services as job training, re-entry services, legal aid, literacy programs, youth recreation, and mentoring services.
Substance use disorders treatment and related services. The Cannabis Justice Office, in consultation with HHS, will also provide funding to eligible non-profit community organizations to administer substance use treatment services, serving anyone with a drug conviction (not only marijuana convictions.)
· The Cannabis Opportunity Program: The SBA will establish a Cannabis Opportunity Program. Under the program, funds would be made available to eligible states and localities to make loans to assist small business concerns that operate in the cannabis industry that are owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
· The Equitable Licensing Grant Program: The SBA will also establish an Equitable Licensing Grant Program. Under the program, funds would be made available to eligible states and localities to develop and implement equitable cannabis licensing programs that minimize barriers to cannabis licensing and employment for individuals adversely impacted by marijuana criminalization.
The bill is supported by more than 130 organizations, including the NAACP, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, SEIU, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Drug Policy Alliance, ACLU, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, National Association of Social Workers, National Employment Law Project, National Organization for Women, Moms Rising, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National Juvenile Justice Network, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, and Cannabis Trade Federation.