FACTS

    The House of Representatives passed a bill Friday which would decriminalize the use of marijuana. This is “the first time either chamber of Congress has voted on the matter.” The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, known as the MORE Act, “would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and expunge some marijuana-related criminal records.” The bill’s future will be determined in the Republican-controlled Senate, in which some argue it is highly unlikely to be passed.

    RIGHT

    Regardless of the Right’s views on marijuana, many Republicans have criticized Democrats for their focus on items such as the MORE Act amid the short timeline for Covid relief efforts, which have been at a standstill since March. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) noted, “This week, your House Democrat majority is tackling the tough issues by holding a vote on legalizing pot and banning tiger ownership. Nothing for small businesses. Nothing for re-opening schools. Nothing on battling the pandemic. Just cannabis and cats.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also chided, “The House of Representatives is spending this week on pressing issues like marijuana. You know, serious and important legislation befitting this national crisis.”

    “I was all over the state of Ohio in the recent campaign. I was all over the country. Not once – not once did a person come up to me, American citizen come up to me, and say ‘you know what…the first major piece of legislation I hope the Congress takes up after this election is to legalize marijuana.”

    Jim Jordan, Ohio State Representative

    LEFT

    The Left generally supports the bill. “This long-overdue legislation would reverse the failed policy of criminalizing marijuana on the federal level and would take steps to address the heavy toll this policy has taken across the country, particularly on communities of color,” stated Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who introduced the bill. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, those in the black community are three and a half times more likely to be arrested for “marijuana possession” than those in the white community. Previously, Kamala Harris has announced that a Biden/Harris administration would “automatically expunge all marijuana-use convictions and end incarceration for drug use alone.”

    “These bills are part of a broader movement to address inequities in criminal justice, business and more. Today’s bipartisan vote shows just how far that movement has come.”

    Chuck Schumer, Senate Democratic Leader

    However, some Democrats agreed that the House should be focusing on Covid relief efforts instead of spending time on legislation that “won’t become law.”

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