Minnesota Reps. Angie Craig and Ilhan Omar have co-sponsored the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (the MORE Act) of 2021 that would decriminalize cannabis at the federal level, striking marijuana from the list of controlled substances, and investing in communities disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.
The bill would eliminate federal criminal penalties, clear criminal records, and create social equity programs focused on repairing damage to individuals and communities impacted by decades of criminalization.
Some Democratic lawmakers view the bill as an essential step toward not only recreational freedom, but also restorative justice.
“For decades, the United States has wasted hundreds of billions of dollars enforcing antiquated drug laws that do not make our communities any safer or more secure – while targeting communities of color in a particularly unjust and prejudiced manner,” Craig said in a statement.
The first step that would be taken federally is removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, which would apply retroactively to prior and pending convictions. The bill would also require federal courts to expunge prior convictions, allow prior offenders to request expungement, and require courts to conduct re-sentencing hearings for those still under supervision.
States that have legalized marijuana have seen a burgeoning market for the drug — in 2020, legal cannabis sales totaled $20 billion and are projected to more than double by 2025, according to the bill. Cannabis-related items, such as RAW products, have also seen massive boosts in sales where recreational use is made legal. In order to address a growing market for the drug, the bill would also open up Small Business Administration funding for cannabis-related businesses and authorize the assessment of a 5% sales tax on marijuana and marijuana products to create an “Opportunity Trust Fund,” which would support grant programs to “reverse the harmful impact of the War on Drugs.”