Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act

Floor Speech

Date: April 1, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. OWENS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to raise safety concerns that remain unaddressed in H.R. 3617, the Marijuana Reinvestment and Expungement Act--known as the MORE Act. I believe there are serious safety concerns to be addressed prior to this chamber advancing this legislation.

According to recent data, the safety impacts of cannabis legalization for adult recreational use should not be ignored.

A 2020 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study analyzed the impacts of legal adult recreational use of cannabis in Washington state. The AAA study concluded that the proportion of fatal-crash-involved drivers who were THC-positive approximately doubled from the level observed before the law went into effect.

Moreover, a series of studies conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that crash rates increased in some of my neighboring states and others after they legalized marijuana. California, Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon, specifically, were the subjects of the IIHS evaluation.

Marijuana use impacts the psycho-motor skills of the people who use it, often resulting in slowed responses. As seen by these earlier data, this impacts how we drive, overall safety on our roadways, and may have other safety impacts as we relax the laws around cannabis. I have serious safety concerns, and I would like to see these issues addressed more directly before I can consider supporting such legislation. To this end, I am developing my own legislation to look at this issue in workplaces to ensure safe, impairment free operations, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to see it enacted.