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With the MORE Act, we're closer than ever to legalizing weed at the federal level

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There is federal movement on potential marijuana legalization. On Wednesday, Nov. 20, for the first time ever, the House Judiciary Committee passed the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement Act on a 24-10 vote.

The MORE Act would formally remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act (descheduling cannabis), allow states to form their own policies, expunge the records of folks with cannabis convictions, and impose a 5 percent tax on sales to be reinvested in communities most impacted by the drug war. The tax fund would include job training and substance abuse treatment.

It's notable that the MORE Act passed on a strong majority vote, with two Republicans pitching in their support. The main objection to the act was that it was being rushed. (The MORE Act still needs to pass a full House vote before it moves on to the Senate, where a Republican majority is less cannabis friendly.) There have been legalization acts that passed through committee in the past, but never had a floor vote.

"Not only does the bill reverse the failed prohibition of cannabis, but it provides pathways for opportunity and ownership in the emerging industry for those who have suffered most," Justin Strekalsaid, political director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said in a statement on the NORML website. "In 2018 alone, over 663,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana-related crimes, a three-year high. Now that Chairman Nadler has moved the MORE Act through committee, it is time for the full House to vote and have every member of Congress show their constituents which side of history they stand on."

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