WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives held a historic vote today on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, marking the first time in its history that the institution has voted on ending marijuana prohibition.
The MORE Act is the most comprehensive marijuana reform bill in Congress. The legislation decriminalizes marijuana, expunges prior marijuana convictions, and invests in communities that have been targeted for 50 years by the war on drugs. It is guided by reparative justice and social justice principles. The ACLU will be scoring this vote in the organization’s congressional scorecard, available online here.
Udi Ofer, director of the ACLU’s Justice Division and Maritza Perez, director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs, highlighted the impact of the legislation and the importance of continuing to improve on the legislation in the next Congress in the following statement.
Udi Ofer, director of the ACLU’s Justice Division:
“The ACLU applauds the House for passing this critically important civil rights legislation. Americans overwhelmingly support marijuana legalization, yet police continue to make more than 500,000 arrests a year for marijuana, needlessly entangling people, disproportionately Black people, in the criminal legal system. A Black person is 3.64 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, even though Black and white people use marijuana at similar rates. If you want to know what systemic racism is, look no further than the war on drugs. Today we celebrate passage of the MORE Act through one chamber of Congress, and tomorrow we will work in the Senate to remove last-minute amendments that diluted the impact of this historic bill.”
Maritza Perez, director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs:
"Today’s vote on the MORE Act made history. Not only was it the first time a chamber of Congress has ever voted on and approved legislation to deschedule marijuana, it proves to lawmakers that we must continue to center equity and reparative justice when shaping drug policy. While today's victory is one worth celebrating, we are cognizant of the work ahead to ensure we improve this bill in the next Congress to truly reflect our principles."