The U.S. House of Representatives might vote as soon as next week on a comprehensive marijuana legalization bill, but the vote would be largely symbolic unless the Senate were to follow suit.
The social justice-focused Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act is up for consideration by the full House next week, according to a House notice published Thursday.
In a landmark vote, the previous House passed MORE in December 2020 by a margin of 228-164 with a handful of Republicans supporting the bill.
But the bill went nowhere in the Senate before the end of that two-year legislative cycle, so the measure needed to start over with the new Congress that was seated in January 2021.
The next vote, if it occurs, comes only weeks before Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is expected to introduce his long-awaited comprehensive marijuana legalization measure called the Cannabis Opportunity and Administration Act.
U.S. Cannabis Council CEO Steven Hawkins said in a statement that the organization is encouraged with the news that the House might vote on MORE.
“Last week, we convened over 20 cannabis industry CEOs in Washington for meetings with 60 members of Congress, and their staff. The CEOs came away from those meetings confident that real progress is within reach this year,” Hawkins wrote.
Morgan Fox, political director of NORML, wrote in a group email to supporters Thursday about the importance of “continuing building momentum for removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and repairing the harms caused by America’s disastrous federal marijuana laws.”
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Fox said a vote on MORE “will provide us with a record of where our elected officials stand on this important public policy” as Congress heads into midterm elections.
But Fox also indicated much work needs to be done to build a strong bipartisan coalition backing federal legalization.