Congress to pick up marijuana legislation in September

The House chamber plans a vote on removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Congress is preparing to consider marijuana legislation when lawmakers return to Washington in September.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina and the highest-ranking Black member of Congress, sent an email to House members Friday stating that the chamber plans to hold a vote on the MORE Act, a bill proposing that cannabis be removed from the Controlled Substances Act, Politico reports.

The bill, H.R. 3884 (116), passed a committee vote last November that garnered support from two Republicans. If enacted into law, cannabis would no longer be listed as a Schedule I drug in the Controlled Substances Act. The Act states Schedule I drugs have no medical benefit and have a high potential for abuse. Heroin, LSD and ecstasy are among the drugs on the list, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

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The MORE Act would not only legalize marijuana at a federal level, but it would make way for a number of marijuana-related criminal records to be vacated.

The marijuana legislation as written leaves it to states to individually legalize marijuana.

Marijuana is currently legal for recreational use in 11 states, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, and in Washington, D.C. A majority of states have legalized the use of the plant for medicinal purposes.

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Democratic lawmakers have been the biggest advocates for the MORE Act to pass, including the party’s vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, who believes the American people want to see marijuana legalization.

“As people across the country protest racial injustices, there’s even greater urgency for Congress to seize this historic opportunity and finally align our cannabis laws with what the majority of Americans support, while ensuring restorative justice,” stated Blumenauer, as reported by Politico.

Randal Meyer, executive director of the Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce, sees this as a monumentally important step toward marijuana legalization.

“A floor vote on the bill would be the greatest federal cannabis reform accomplishment in over 50 years,” Meyers said.

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