Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Calls on Congress to End Failed Federal Marijuana Policy, Pass MORE Act

November 20, 2019
Press Release
Washington, DC—Today, the House Judiciary Committee voted to pass H.R.3884, the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, which Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) introduced with Chair Jerry Nadler (NY-10). The bill passed with a bipartisan vote, 24-10, and now awaits consideration by the full House. 
 
“I’ve long been a champion for ending the federal marijuana prohibition, and today’s vote on the MORE Act is a crucial step forward toward ending our failed marijuana policy which has ruined people’s lives and strained our criminal justice system,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “Congress must pass this bill so that we can begin to help heal the wounds caused by the failed war on drugs and move forward together.” 
 
Background: H.R.3884, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act:
 
  • Decriminalizes marijuana at the federal level by removing the substance from the Controlled Substances Act. This applies retroactively to prior and pending convictions, and enables states to set their own policy.
  • Requires federal courts to expunge prior convictions, allows prior offenders to request expungement, and requires courts, on motion, to conduct re-sentencing hearings for those still under supervision.
  • Authorizes the assessment of a 5% sales tax on marijuana and marijuana products to create an Opportunity Trust Fund, which includes three grant programs:
    • The Community Reinvestment Grant Program: Provides services to the individuals most adversely impacted by the War on Drugs, including job training, re-entry services, legal aid, literacy programs, youth recreation, mentoring, and substance use treatment.  
    • The Cannabis Opportunity Grant Program: Provides funds for loans to assist small businesses in the marijuana industry that are owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
    • The Equitable Licensing Grant Program: Provides funds for programs that minimize barriers to marijuana licensing and employment for the individuals most adversely impacted by the War on Drugs.
  • Opens up Small Business Administration funding for legitimate cannabis-related businesses and service providers.
  • Provides non-discrimination protections for marijuana use or possession, and for prior convictions for a marijuana offense:
    • Prohibits the denial of any federal public benefit (including housing) based on the use or possession of marijuana, or prior conviction for a marijuana offense.
    • Provides that the use or possession of marijuana, or prior conviction for a marijuana offense, will have no adverse impact under the immigration laws.
  • Requires the Bureau of Labor Statistics to collect data on the demographics of the industry to ensure people of color and those who are economically disadvantaged are participating in the industry.
 
The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act has the support of a broad coalition of civil rights, criminal justice, drug policy, and immigration groups, including: the Drug Policy Alliance, Center for American Progress, 4thMVMT, ACLU, California Minority Alliance, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Human Rights Watch, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Sentencing Project, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, UndocuBlack Network, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).
 
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has long called for sensible marijuana policies as part of her ongoing commitment to common sense criminal justice reform. She introduced bipartisan legislation with Rep. Don Young (AK-at large) — (the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act (H.R. 1588) and the Marijuana Data Collection Act (H.R. 1587). H.R. 1588 would remove marijuana from the federal controlled substances list. H.R. 1587 would direct the National Academy of Sciences to study the effects of state legalized medicinal and adult-use marijuana programs from a variety of perspectives, including state revenues, public health, substance abuse and opioids, criminal justice, and employment.
 
She has called for closing the gaps between federal and state law to resolve current contradictions and provide legally abiding marijuana businesses with clear access to financial services. She joined several of her colleagues to introduce the bipartisan Secure And Fair Enforcement Banking Act (H.R.1595) in March 2019 which was passed by the House in September 2019. The bill would help prevent federal banking regulators from penalizing depository institution for providing banking services to a legitimate marijuana-related business.
 
She is a cosponsor of H.R.1456, the Marijuana Justice Act to reform unjust federal marijuana laws and empower minority communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the failed War on Drugs. And, to protect veterans engaged in the state-legalized cannabis industry, Rep. Gabbard sent a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie in June 2019 to demand a correction of the VA’s denial of loan guarantee benefits to these veterans.
 
About Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving her fourth term in the United States House representing Hawai‘i’s Second District, and serves on the House Armed Services and Financial Services Committees. She previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She was elected to the Honolulu City Council in 2010, and prior to that at age 21, was elected to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature in 2002, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. Tulsi Gabbard has served in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard for 16 years, is a veteran of two Middle East deployments, and continues to serve as a Major. Learn more about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard...
 
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