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Providing for Consideration of H.R. Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 3, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. SCANLON. Mr. Speaker, like my colleague, the distinguished member of the Committee on Rules from Georgia, I, too, hope that the renewed interest in both Houses in passing COVID relief yields fruit sooner rather than later. It does require that the Senate make it a priority, and I have been advised that the Senate's priority this afternoon once again is confirming another conservative judge. So we will both have to hold out hope as we move forward.

Mr. Speaker, I am here today, pleased to rise in support of today's rule and the underlying legislation, the MORE Act.

It becomes clearer by the day that the time is long overdue for the Federal Government to bring its marijuana policy into the 21st century.

The current approach has failed our youth, has failed to stem more harmful drug usage, and, most notably, has failed communities of color across the United States. That is because, when it comes to marijuana, there are two justice systems in the United States: a gentler, more understanding system mostly available to White Americans, and a punitive, less-forgiving system primarily enforced against Black and Brown Americans.

Mr. Speaker, this isn't justice. This is not who we must be as a nation.

Thousands of people, mostly younger Black and Brown men, remain incarcerated, while a growing number of States, including Pennsylvania, have decriminalized and legalized marijuana for medicinal and recreational use.

The question is no longer whether we are living in a world if we will legalize cannabis. States across the country are leading the way and demonstrating how to safely, responsibly, and effectively regulate cannabis for medicinal and recreational use.

Mr. Speaker, the MORE Act will decriminalize marijuana by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act and apply retroactively to prior and pending marijuana-related convictions. The bill will also require Federal courts to expunge prior convictions and require courts to consider resentencing hearings for those still under supervision.

The MORE Act will not fix all of the injustices caused by the obsolete and ineffective approach of the Federal Government towards cannabis, but it is a good and long-overdue start.

Mr. Speaker, I urge all of my colleagues to side with justice and side with common sense to support this rule and the underlying legislation.

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