During congressional elections and the presidential election last year cannabis was often used as a talking point. Whether politicians wanted to use the theme of social justice promoting legalization or cannabis it as a symbol of crime and addiction, the focus on weed was ongoing. That has died down since people got elected. However, The MORE Act, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act is gaining traction once again as NBC news reports.
On Fridays congressional leaders reintroduced the MORE Act for congressional approval. The MORE Act is based on the understanding that the “war on drugs” has actually been a war on American citizens and seeks to assist “communities disproportionately affected by the so-called drug war”, as NBC news reports. The bill was reintroduced by Jerry Nadler, a Democratic from New York.
This newer version of the MORE Act is said to address more social justice issues. NBC news reports the bill contains “stronger social justice measures intended to address generational effects of prohibition”. My question is how the bill will translate to action? Will legislation change the long held perceptions held by police and policymakers about the communities traditionally marginalized by legal means?
The bill will also set a sales tax on cannabis retail. The proposal is that the tax will begin at 5% and raise to 8% over three years. UI simply see this as a means to guarantee that the underground market continues to have a foundation. I am “allegedly” (Desus and Mero sprinkles) not paying a sales tax on my Sour Diesel.
The bill proposed would also establish an “Office of Cannabis Justice”, NBC News reports. Will this be like the Justice League ?… A cadre of superheroes that smoke cannabis. A serious question though is how are the people that used cannabis to arrest, detain, and marginalize now be trusted with the keys to the kingdom? Justice would be an independent council separate from the government. The role of this proposed office is to “prevent the federal government from penalizing cannabis users who depend on social services…”.
The bill will also propose that the Small Business Administration (SBA) establish the Cannabis Restorative Opportunity Program. This program would “help businesses owned and operated by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals” according to NBC News. “The whole intention and vision behind this bill is that it would repair past harms of drug prohibition”, said Maritza Perez, the national affairs director at the Drug Policy Alliance, as reported by NBC News. The proposal of this bill is a push to generate momentum the House cannot ignore.