WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) voted to pass the bipartisan Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, the most comprehensive marijuana reform bill ever passed by the U.S. Congress that decriminalizes marijuana at the federal level and expunges from an individual’s record all non-violent federal marijuana criminal offenses.
“This is a matter of personal choice, public health, and restorative justice,” Rep. Peters said. “The MORE Act reforms harmful and outdated federal laws by correcting injustices that have disproportionately hurt communities of color. I’m proud to support this bill which helps California patients, veterans, and cannabis business owners. It’s a step toward righting the wrongs of our nation’s war on drugs and aligns with the consensus that federal law must be brought in line with California’s.”
Rep. Peters continued, “Additionally, by descheduling marijuana, this bill removes some of the barriers that impede cannabis research–crucial for prominent institutions like UC San Diego’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research in my district which conducts groundbreaking studies to better understand cannabis’ potential therapeutic value and long-term impact. I’m working with some of my colleagues on a plan that would further strengthen national efforts to study the safety and efficacy of cannabis.”
Marijuana is currently illegal under federal law, though 18 states, including California, have legalized recreational use of marijuana and 37 states have legalized medical marijuana. The discrepancies between federal and state laws pose problems for residents in states who find themselves using marijuana in compliance with state law while simultaneously violating federal law. The MORE Act eliminates this legal gray area and enables states to set their own regulatory policies without the threat of federal interference.
The bill removes marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, thereby descheduling it. Federal descheduling will apply to all prior and current federal convictions, allow veterans to be prescribed medical marijuana through the VA, and removes barriers that impede banking access and marijuana research.
The MORE Act also establishes a 5 percent excise tax on marijuana sales, excluding medicinal cannabis, at the manufacturing level to create an Opportunity Trust Fund that would fund three new grant programs:
- The Community Reinvestment Grant Program will fund two types of services:
- Services facilitated through eligible non-profit community organizations that include job training, re-entry services, legal aid, literacy programs, youth recreation and mentoring services, all targeted to individuals adversely affected by marijuana criminalization and their families.
- Services dedicated to substance use disorders treatment and related services.
- The Cannabis Opportunity Program: establishes a program within the Small Business Administration (SBA) to expand funding for legitimate cannabis-related businesses, with special attention to businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
- The Equitable Licensing Grant Program: funds equitable licensing programs so that states and localities can implement inclusive policies.