Cannabis Reform History Was Made This Week In Congress

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Cannabis prohibition was approved by the United States Congress in 1937. Since that time, cannabis advocates have fought to reverse that legislation. Federal cannabis prohibition is still in place in the United States, however, the effort to legalize cannabis nationwide passed a huge milestone this week.

For the first time in U.S. history, a congressional committee approved a piece of legislation to end cannabis prohibition in the U.S. The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act (The MORE Act), would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. The bill passed with bipartisan support (24 to 10).

“Today’s vote marks a turning point for federal cannabis policy, and is truly a sign that prohibition’s days are numbered,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). “Thanks to the diligent efforts of advocates and lawmakers from across the political spectrum, we’ve seen more progress in this Congress than ever before. Supermajority public support for legalization, increasing recognition of the devastating impacts of prohibition on marginalized communities and people of color, and the undeniable success of state cannabis programs throughout the country are all helping to build momentum for comprehensive change in the foreseeable future.”

“This is a truly historic moment in our nation’s political history. For the first time, a Congressional committee has approved far-reaching legislation to not just put an end to federal marijuana prohibition, but to address the countless harms our prohibitionist policies have wrought, notable on communities of color and other marginalized groups,” stated NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri in a press release sent to the International Cannabis Business Conference, “Opposition to our failed war on marijuana has reached a boiling point with over two-thirds of all Americans, including majorities of all political persuasions, now supporting legalization. Congress should respect the will of the people and promptly approve the MORE Act and close this dark chapter of failed public policy.”

Earlier this year the full House of Representatives passed the SAFE Banking Act, which has yet to be voted on in the Senate. The MORE Act could either be passed along to other House committees, or it’s possible that they could rubberstamp it and push it out for a full House vote soon. If you live in the United States and have not contacted your Representative to urge them to support this bill yet, now is the time to do so!

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