Rep. Wexton Votes to Pass MORE Act to Federally Decriminalize Marijuana
Washington, December 4, 2020
Washington, DC -- Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10) voted to pass the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act to end the federal prohibition and criminalization of marijuana.
“I am proud to support the MORE Act’s passage to federally decriminalize marijuana and address the toll criminalization has taken, particularly on communities of color," said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. "Decriminalizing marijuana is an economics issue, a social justice issue, and a racial justice issue. The MORE Act supports those who have been disproportionately impacted by criminalization by providing for the expungement of federal marijuana convictions, reinvesting in communities, and creating opportunities to share in the economic benefits of legal cannabis.”
By decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level, the MORE Act allows states to have the ability to create legal frameworks to regulate cannabis without federal interference. The bill supports states that have already made reforms of their marijuana policies, as Virginia took steps to do earlier this year, and removes federal barriers for those who have yet to do so.
The legislation also facilitates the expungement of low-level federal marijuana convictions and incentivizes state and local governments to take similar actions. Additionally, it takes steps to address the consequences of criminalization, particularly the disproportionate impact on communities of color. People of color are nearly 4 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than their white counterparts, despite equal rates of use across populations. Through federal taxes imposed on the cannabis industry, the bill funds grant programs targeting those impacted by criminalization by providing support for community re-entry, minimizing barriers to cannabis licensing, and assisting cannabis small businesses owned by socially or economically disadvantaged individuals.
Removing federal marijuana restrictions and allowing states to legalize at the state level could allow the federal government to collect over $100 billion in tax revenue annually. Legal cannabis has created more than 250,000 jobs, with a projected growth rate of 250% over a ten-year period. In 2019, legal marijuana sales were over $12 billion dollars which would have otherwise gone to the illicit market.