MORE Act Introduced in the US House of Representatives

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House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler reintroduced the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment & Expungement Act (the “MORE Act”) on Friday, May 28, 2021.  The MORE Act seeks to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, expunge certain cannabis-related criminal records at the federal level, and create social equity programs via a federal sales tax on cannabis products.  Rep. Nadler had previously introduced the MORE Act in 2020.  At that time, it passed the House of Representatives but was never voted on in the Senate.

This year’s version of the MORE Act differs slightly from the 2020 version.  Key points contained in the act are:

  • Implementation of a five percent federal sales tax on cannabis products, that would increase to eight percent over three years. Tax revenue raised would fund the Opportunity Trust Fund, which would help communities impacted by the war on drugs.
  • Creation of the Office of Cannabis Justice to prevent penalizing cannabis users who receive social services from the federal government, as well as to oversee the social equity components of the bill.
  • Establishment of the Cannabis Restorative Opportunity Program under the Small Business Administration.
  • Expungement of low-level federal convictions for cannabis possession, as well as the creation of incentives for states to expunge similar convictions.
  • Permitting the prescription of medicinal cannabis to veterans through the VA system.
  • Preventing deportation of immigrants for minor cannabis infractions or for working for cannabis companies in states where cannabis has been legalized.

The MORE Act is co-sponsored by Representatives Barbara Lee, Earl Blumenauer, Sheila Jackson Lee, Hakeem Jeffries, and Nydia Velázquez.  While it is expected the bill will be passed by the House of Representatives, its future in the Senate is unclear.  Senators Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker, and Ron Wyden intend to introduce their own bill legalizing cannabis soon.

As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.

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