On this page one week ago, we highlighted the importance and potential of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act (HR 3884 / S. 2227). The bill would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (where it never belonged in the first place) effectively decriminalizing the plant at the federal level.
The Act is still an extremely small effort to overturn the massive injustices perpetrated under the War on Drugs, but it is, in fact, SOMETHING instead of decades of nothing.
Or at least… it was.
Politico is now reporting that the vote (originally scheduled for last week) will be delayed until after the November election. Sources attribute the craven reversal to a letter from prohibition cheerleaders, including law enforcement groups.
According to Pew research, 90% of Americans believe cannabis should be legal to use in some form. The American people are united, and we want change. But liars and thieves in all three branches of government have united to prolong prohibition, continuing to ruin lives and endanger the innocent.
In a year fraught with conflict between law enforcement and communities, House Democrats balked at the only realistic improvement to police-community relations they had even bothered to try.
There’s a deeper, still-more-unsettling truth in the MORE Act’s delay: if police and corrections officers can kill a bill with such broad support (100 sponsors, including 3 Republicans, and 90% of Americans) actual policing reforms, like the elimination of civil asset forfeiture and ending qualified immunity, don’t stand a chance.
One group quoted in the LEO letter – which is packed with long-disproven lies and shameful misdirection – received MILLIONS in taxpayer dollars to uphold racist reefer-madness laws – against the will of the taxpayers themselves. Many more nefarious interests have funded prohibition efforts – and locked up thousands of peaceful people – to protect their profits or power.
The MORE Act, if passed, would remove federal penalties and return the power of legalization or prohibition to individual states – 33 of which embrace cannabis. The bill would also free and expunge the records of people serving time for federal convictions under the immoral law. Veterans and the VA, previously denied the benefits of medical cannabis even in legal states, would gain access to much-needed treatment and a non-lethal alternative to opiate painkillers. Unfortunately, the Act also includes a 5% tax on all commercial sales of cannabis, but promises to invest those revenues to restore communities devastated by the War on Drugs (color us skeptical).
The vote will supposedly (Congressional leadership made ‘an ironclad commitment’ so let’s call it 50/50) take place in the lame duck session later this year. A September floor vote would have clearly identified prohibitionists to be targeted for removal, and put supporters on the record while they face challengers. At the very least, they have abdicated an enormous responsibility to voters while actively seeking their votes.
Accountability for their own views was more than Congress could stomach – and they don’t bother representing the views of the American people at all. You can still let them know what you think – and demand a floor vote on the MORE Act – by contacting your legislators.
Context for this article was provided by Reason.com’s coverage.
— Though the author is an officer of the Libertarian Party of Georgia, this article does not necessarily represent the official views of that organization or its members. —
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