FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bill To End Marijuana Prohibition Passes House of Representatives
Washington, DC: Today, the House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act, HR 3617 by a vote of 220 to 204. The partisan breakdown is Democrats voting 217-2 in favor and Republicans voting 3 to 202 against.
“For the first time in US history, voters will be able to go to the ballot box armed with the answer to a simple question: did my Representative vote to reform marijuana laws or maintain the racist and cruel policy of marijuana criminalization,” said BOWL PAC’s Justin Strekal. “With a super-majority of voters supporting legalization, the growing segment of the population that prioritizes this issue will be better equipped to defeat prohibitionists at the ballot box.”
Strekal added, “This favorable vote on the MORE Act must be seen by the Senate as a mandate to consider legislation to end prohibition with haste.”
Since its inception earlier this year, BOWL PAC has been active in pushing for a House vote before the April congressional recess. The group’s efforts include leading a joint action petition that has garnered over 55,000 signatures, joining the Marijuana Justice Coalition on a letter, and leading a separate letter to House Leadership from a diverse group of stakeholders.
More about MORE
Core Feature: The MORE Act, HR 3617, would end the federal prohibition and criminalization of marijuana, thus providing individual states with the authority to be the primary arbiters of cannabis policy.
FURTHER: The MORE Act would also make several other important changes to federal marijuana policy, including:
- Facilitating the expungement of low-level, federal marijuana convictions, and incentivizing state and local governments to take similar actions;
- Creating pathways for ownership opportunities in the emerging regulated industry as well as other sectors of the economy for local and diversely-reflective entrepreneurs who have been impacted under prohibition through the Small Business Administration grant eligibility;
- Allowing veterans, for the first time, to obtain medical cannabis recommendations from their VA doctors in states that have an established medical cannabis program;
- Removing the threat of deportation for immigrants accused of minor marijuana infractions or who are gainfully employed in the state-legal cannabis industry;
- Providing critical reinvestment grant opportunities for communities that have suffered disproportionate rates of marijuana-related enforcement actions;
- Protecting and respecting the basic rights and civil liberties of consumers under federal law when it comes to public benefits.
- According to a recent report by the ACLU, Black Americans are 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis-related crimes than white Americans.
- According to the FBI UCR, over 350,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana-related crimes in 2020 alone, over 90% of those arrested were charged with mere possession.
- The state-legal cannabis industry employs over 428,000 full-time workers; that is over four times the number of jobs specific to the coal industry.
- While the substance is not without harm, cannabis is objectively less harmful than legal and regulated alcohol and tobacco.
Quinnipiac University, April 2021
Question: Do you think that the use of marijuana should be made legal in the United States, or not?
- Overall: 69% Yes – 25% No
- Democrat: 78% Yes – 17% No
- Republicans: 62% Yes – 32% No
- Independents: 67% Yes – 28% No
Gallup Polling, Nov. 2021
Question: Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?
- Overall: 68% Yes – 32% No
- Democrat: 83% Yes – 16% No
- Republicans: 50% Yes – 49% No
- Independents: 71% Yes – 28% No
Pew Research Center, April 2021
Question: Which comes closer to your view about the use of marijuana by adults?
- 60% It should be legal for medical AND recreational use
- 31% It should be legal for medical use ONLY
- 8% It should NOT be legal
- 12% of Republicans say marijuana should NOT be legal
- 5% of Democrats say marijuana should NOT be legal
BOWL PAC works to unify the public, interest groups, and policymakers behind a comprehensive approach to marijuana legalization and justice for those who have been harmed under its criminalization.