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November 21, 2019

House Judiciary Committee Advances MORE Act

On November 20, the House Judiciary Committee voted to advance the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019 (MORE Act).

The MORE Act recognizes the following:

  • Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have adopted laws legalizing cannabis for adult use
  • Forty-seven states have reformed cannabis laws despite its federal Schedule I status
  • Continued enforcement of cannabis laws disproportionately impacts people of color
  • Disparate arrest and conviction rates for people of color creates barriers for these individuals to participating in legal cannabis markets by limiting access to loans and capital

While the MORE Act is under jurisdiction of other committees and its passage is questionable, this marks the first time that a House committee has advanced a bill that descheduled marijuana as a class I controlled substance.

Provisions of the MORE Act include:

  • Striking marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinoids (THC) from the Schedule I of controlled substances
  • A retroactive clause that would apply to any offense committed, case pending, or conviction entered before, on, or after the enactment of the MORE Act
  • Requiring the Bureau of Labor Statistics to regularly compile data on individuals who are owners or employees of cannabis businesses
  • Creating the Opportunity Trust Fund to be established and administered by the Small Business Administration
  • Establishing the Cannabis Justice Office within the Office of Justice Programs under the Attorney General, which will administer the Community Reinvestment Grant Program. The program allows eligible entities to administer services such as legal aid, literacy programs, job training, and reentry support to individuals who have been most adversely impacted by the War on Drugs.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Mary Volcko, project specialist, at mvolcko@barclaydamon.com or another member of the firm’s cannabis team.

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