The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on a marijuana decriminalization bill this month called The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act, (MORE Act). If passed, this act would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act.
This, in turn, would allow states to determine the drug’s status and whether to vote to legalize the drug. Already, marijuana is legal in 11 states including California, Colorado, Michigan, Illinois, Alaska, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine.
At this time, cannabis is a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I drugs are defined as drugs with no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse. For example, heroin and ecstasy are currently set as Schedule I drugs. If passed, the MORE Act would erase some cannabis criminal records. According to the bill, H.R. 3884 (116), it would require “federal courts to expunge prior marijuana-related convictions and arrests.”
The bill would also authorize the assessment of a 5 percent sales tax on marijuana and its associated products to create an Opportunity Trust Fund, including grant programs to support individuals who “have been adversely affected by the War on Drugs.”
If passed, the bill would then need to pass the Senate.