Chairperson of the Home Rule, chairman Jerry Nadler and the hopeful late Democratic president. Comrade Harris introduces legislation to decriminalize marijuana at federal level and repair the "damage caused by the war on drugs" when the cannabis reform gets steamed in Congress.
Called the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, or the MORE Act, the bill would remove marijuana from the law on controlled subjects, decriminalize the drug and allow states to write their own policies. Legislation would require former potty offenses to be expelled or re-sent.
It would also create federal protection, such as banning federal agencies from denying benefits to people found with marijuana and preventing immigrants from being deported for a marijuana-related belief. The bill establishes a 5% cannabis tax to create contributions for minorities and low-income communities.
"Racist motivated enforcement of marijuana laws has disproportionately affected communities of color," Nadler, D-N.Y., Said in a statement. "It's time to correct this wrong country and work to see marijuana use as a matter of personal choice and public health, not criminal behavior."
In focus on both decriminalization and social and criminal reforms, supporters call the bill for "most comprehensive" bill yet. Legislators are increasingly interested in reforming the country's marijuana laws. Eleven states have already legalized leisure use. A survey conducted in Gallup in the spring found that 64% of Americans support legalization.
Earlier this month, the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security held a "historic" hearing, with several congressional members saying they wanted to loosen federal laws. The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs is holding a hearing on Tuesday on the challenges facing the cannabis industry in terms of getting financial services.
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A handful of cannabis bills have been introduced during the past year by Democrats running for president, including senior Cory Bookers Marijuana Justice Act and Sen. Elizabeth Warrens strengthening the tenth amendment by Acting States, or the STATES Act.
"This is the most comprehensive and functional legislation put forward," said Justin Strekal, political director of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, on Nadler and Harris's new bill.
Ten national organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, formed the Marijuana Justice Coalition earlier this month to advocate criminal justice reform and the promotion of diversity in cannabis legislation. While the legalization of marijuana may be a huge economic blessing, critics say that minorities are left out.
"We find it deeply unfair that people now make so much money and so much wealth is created from regulated marijuana markets when historically people with color and low income have had the bulk of drug policy in this country," Maritza said. Perez, a senior political analyst for criminal justice reform at the Center for American Progress, who supports the bill.
Nadler and Harris proposition use cannabis tax revenues to set up three funds to help people in communities that have been harmed in the war on drugs. Community support for reinvestment would provide training, legal aid and other social programs. The bill requires creating a Cannabis Justice Officer to administer the money.
The Cannabis Opportunity Grant would offer loans to help marijuana companies owned and operated by "socially and economically disadvantaged individuals." The fair licensing would help states develop "fair cannabis licensing programs" to minimize entry barriers.
Wanda James, the first African-American woman who opened a dispensary in Colorado, said the provisions of the bill deal with "the core of what needs to be changed." She applauds rules prohibiting regulators from denying cannabis licenses based on cannabis beliefs. James said she had to fire her brother from her first dispensary because at that time Colorado prevented anyone who had violent drug offenses from working in the cannabis industry.
"We began to see communities targeting drug offenses and deliberately being left out of the ability to be part of the cannabis industry," she said.
Nadler plans to introduce the bill in the house and Harris, D-Calif., Plans to introduce the bill in the Senate on Tuesday. Nadler's support gives the legislation a powerful ally in the Chamber. He is chair of the House Committee, which would have to clear legislation that decriminalizes marijuana.
But even if the bill passes the democratically controlled house, the MORE law is likely to have a tougher time in the Republican-controlled Senate. While Senate's majority leader Mitch McConnell advocated legalizing hemp-derived cannabidiol, he has opposed marijuana.