Federal cannabis-reform bill approved by House Judiciary Committee
Wednesday morning, the MORE Act, a federal decriminalization bill rooted in social-equity, was approved by the House Judiciary Committee in a sweeping 24-10 victory.
Although it faces an uphill battle, if approved, the MORE Act would remove cannabis from the federal Controlled Substance Act, allowing for individual states to craft and regulate their own markets – free of federal interference. It would also provide detailed policies surrounding expungement and tax allocations designed to help uplift the communities most impacted by the War on Drugs.
With its commitment to these communities, the MORE Act has already received a handful of powerful endorsements from civil rights, criminal justice, and immigration groups.
Boston shifts focus to promote social equity
A new regulatory and oversight group, the Boston Cannabis Board, was approved earlier this week by the Boston City Council.
The new Cannabis Board will foster the creation of Massachusetts’ first fund designed to support minority-owned cannabis and ancillary businesses, providing accessible capital licensing fees.
“The evidence is clear: without intentional focus on equity, the status quo will prevail,” stated Councilor Kim Janey after approving the new board.
To have access to the new fund, local applicants will have to meet 3 out of 6 requirements, all of which are themed around cannabis-related arrests and communities most impacted by the War on Drugs.
Virginia AG set to host cannabis-reform summit
Next month, officials from states with an adult-use or medicinal cannabis market will join Attorney General Mark Herring for a 1-day cannabis summit to promote the legalization of cannabis.
The summit is designed to spread more awareness about the positive benefits of legalization, outside of simple revenue. Panelists include public educators, health professionals, and lawmakers.
AG Herring is hoping the summit will bring more awareness to two cannabis-reform bills sitting idle in the House, which aim to decriminalize the plant and lay-out a detailed path for an adult-use market in Virginia.
“Criminalizing marijuana possession is not working. It is needlessly creating criminals, saddling people with convictions and costing taxpayers millions each year,” the attorney general wrote in an op-ed for the Virginian-Pilot this week. “The social and human costs are tremendous, and the weight of the system falls disproportionately on African Americans and people of color.”
Cannabis continues to be a key-talking point for 2020 candidates
Earlier this week, former Vice President and 2020-hopeful Joe Biden sparked a wave of controversy when he shared (what many are labeling as outdated) his cannabis views with a small town hall in Las Vegas.
Reported by CNN, Biden told the crowd that he opposes legalizing cannabis nationwide, highlighting the need for more research and the potential of it ‘still being a gateway drug’.
Following the town hall, a handful of candidates posted pro-cannabis remarks on social media, highlighting the need for progressive policies: