The US House of Representatives will be voting on a bill to decriminalise cannabis in December, according to a letter obtained from House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer.
In the letter, Hoyer announces that the house will vote on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE) in an upcoming session. December sessions will run from December 1st – 4th, and December 7th – 10th.
Under the MORE bill, the possession of cannabis will be decriminalised across the US. This does not mean that cannabis will be legalised, as the cultivation, trafficking and selling of cannabis will remain illegal. The bill also includes provisions to expunge the convictions of people who committed nonviolent cannabis offences.
According to Hoyer’s leaked letter, this would give convicted Americans back the ability to access “opportunities to make it possible to get ahead in our economy”. Hoyer cites getting a job and applying for loans and credit as examples, but the bill also includes a 5% cannabis tax that reinvests funds back into communities affected by the war on drugs.
The MORE bill was first introduced by Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris, in 2019. It was due to be voted on in September but was tabled in favour of discussing Covid-19 related measures. If the MORE bill passes, it will impact two-thirds of Americans who currently live in states without recreational cannabis.
As of the US election, the recreational use of cannabis is currently legal in 15 jurisdictions and medical cannabis (in some form) is legal in 34 jurisdictions. Research published by Gallup yesterday suggests 68% of Americans support the legalisation of cannabis.
While it is unclear whether the MORE bill will pass in the House of Representatives, it has supporters throughout the government. The US Senate’s Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted out on Tuesday:
Based on America’s progress, Australian states may start to legalise cannabis as soon as 2021. Read that story here.