The House Judiciary Committee approved the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019 – a bill that legalizes marijuana on the federal level. According to CNBC, the legislation “allows states to enact their own policies and gives them incentives to clear criminal records of people with low-level marijuana offenses.”
The legislation passed by a count of 24 to 10, and CNBC reports that it has a high chance of approval in the full House since Democrats populate 234 seats. However, it is not very likely for it to receive the same kind of affirmation from the Republican-controlled Senate as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opposes marijuana legalization. On the other hand, some Republican members are concerned that “the bill went too far.”
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The bill would establish a Cannabis Justice Office that would manage a program to reinvent resources in communities that have been adversely affected by prohibition. It will also allow the Small Business Administration to “provide loans and grants to cannabis-related businesses and support state and local equity licensing programs.” This will also allow doctors within the Veterans Affairs system to recommend medical cannabis to patients.
The Hill reports that this is the first time that a congressional committee has voted to approve the legalization of marijuana.