Finally, the MORE Act has created more movement toward federal cannabis legalization. Since the nationwide criminalization of marijuana in the 1900s, weed on a federal level has hit a standstill. Although the majority of US states have legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana, cannabis is still federally illegal. Lawmakers aim to change that with a new cannabis legalization bill.
The MORE Act cannabis would decriminalize cannabis in the US, offer reparations to those affected by the drug war, and establish the cannabis industry as a valid business. The bill passed in the House on April 1, 2022, and will soon go to the Senate. But is federally legal weed a real possibility? What’s next for the MORE Act? Here we’ll discuss what the MORE Act marijuana is, the next step for the bill, its plausibility, and a little US cannabis history. Let’s get into this monumental moment.
What is the MORE Act 2021?
First of all, what does the MORE Act stand for? The MORE Act stands for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act. The MORE Act cannabis was introduced in the House in May 2021 and has now been passed nearly a year later. This bill would remove the federal ban on cannabis, but continue to leave legalization up to the states.
If passed, the MORE Act cannabis plans to:
- Remove marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act
- Create a process to expunge prior cannabis convictions and resentence individuals incarcerated due to certain cannabis charges
- Eliminate criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana
- Establish a trust fund to support those impacted by the War on Drugs
- Impose a federal tax on marijuana products starting at 5%
- Allow cannabis companies access to traditional banking and basic financing options
- Replace statutory references to marijuana and marihuana with cannabis
- Get rid of the existing contradiction between federal and state laws
The MORE Act marijuana was passed mostly along party lines with a vote of 220-204. Only two Democrats voted against the bill while just three Republicans voted for it. But this isn’t the first time the House has passed a bill like this. In 2020, the House voted to decriminalize weed, and the Senate did not consider the bill. So what can hopeful citizens expect this time when it comes to federal cannabis legalization? What’s next for the MORE Act?
What’s Next for the MORE Act Marijuana?
Even though the House passed the MORE Act marijuana, it‘s unlikely that the Senate will pass or even consider the bill. (Casually dropping the bad news.) The MORE Act would need 60 votes to pass the Senate. As of April 4, 2022, the MORE Act 2021 was received in the Senate, read twice, and referred to the Committee on Finance.
Legislators expect the MORE Act 2021 to fail in the Senate not only due to the Senate’s track record but because the Senate has a bill on marijuana reform of its own.
The Senate is set to introduce the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, otherwise known as the CAO Act, in late April 2022.
The CAO Act aims to implement cannabis federal legalization in order to “end the decades of harm inflicted on communities of color.” The bill’s discussion draft says that state-compliant cannabis businesses will finally be treated like other businesses and allowed access to essential financial services.
The CAO Act includes restorative measures to lift up people and communities who were unfairly targeted in the War on Drugs. The act would also impose a 25% excise tax on cannabis products. This is quite a bit more than the MORE Act’s 5% tax.
Doesn’t sound bad either, right? But, it’s not that simple. The competing interests of the MORE Act and CAO Act could cause a deadlock where no advancement is possible, leaving the country with yet another year of failed cannabis legalization.
READ MORE: Will Federal Marijuana Laws Ever Progress?
The Impact of the House Passing the MORE Act 2021
Although there’s a good chance that the Senate will not pass the MORE Act cannabis, the House still made a powerful statement when it comes to progressive cannabis regulation. More than 90% of Americans support federal cannabis legalization for at least some uses of marijuana. And, with that, some progress is better than none at all.
The House reinforced its cannabis intentions, setting a precedent for the rest of Congress.
As one of the fastest-growing industries in the US with cannabis sales hitting $25 billion in 2021, it’s crucial that we take the cannabis industry seriously. Not only for the fiscal worth of its products but for the legitimate medicinal treatment the plant provides patients physically, mentally, and spiritually.
But, how did the nationwide criminalization of marijuana happen in the first place?
How Did the Criminalization of Cannabis in the US Happen?
Humans recognized the benefits of cannabis very early on. All around the world, for thousands of years, people treated cannabis as a multifaceted tool for medicinal purposes and for creating textiles.
In the 1600s, the United States even required colonies to grow hemp. So what happened in the 1900s that changed everything for cannabis legalization? What could’ve possibly erased the bountiful history of weed for the US?
Political and racial factors, as well as how the media portrayed marijuana consumers, led to the criminalization of marijuana in the United States. Media propaganda like Reefer Madness, removing marijuana from the US Pharmacopeia, and the War on Drugs ultimately classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug. The US defines a Schedule 1 drug as a substance that has “no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”
Simply put, this does not fit for cannabis.
It’s Time to Get Medically Legal, Elevate Holistics Can Help
Only time will really tell what’s next for the MORE Act. (Fingers crossed.) Fortunately, most states have implemented medical cannabis legalization – and it’s never been easier to get your medical marijuana card. Having an MMJ card offers patients more legal protection, lower costs, and assures weed availability at dispensaries.
Elevate Holistics offers a 100% online, simple way to get your MMJ card. We’ll connect you with a certified cannabis physician over video chat and help you through the rest of the process. It’s time to get legal and we can’t hold our breath waiting for federal cannabis legalization just yet.