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Federal Cannabis Legalization Bill Could Get Floor Vote In House, Sooner Than Later

By Jelena Martinovic

The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act is poised to end up on the House floor next week, reports Marijuana Moment.

Rumors of a floor vote, coming from a congressional staffer and a key advocate familiar with the high-level discussions and another source close to Marijuana Moment’s redaction, are being fueled by a closed-to-press session held weeks ago by congressional Democrats at a party retreat. The session featured a panel on advancing marijuana reform.

Why Advocates Say MORE Act Falls Short In Restorative Justice
Photo by MmeEmil/Getty Images

Cannabist advocates have been working tirelessly to bring a bill to federally legalize cannabis to the House floor again this month.

The Marijuana Justice Coalition (MJC), a broad coalition of national advocacy organizations convened by the Drug Policy Alliance, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch, sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) earlier this month, calling for a floor vote on the bill.

Nadler’s bill was approved 26-15, with 24 Democrats joined by two Republicans at the House Judiciary Committee this session in September.

The MORE Act repeals the long-standing federal prohibition of marijuana by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act, that way ending the state/federal conflict over cannabis policies and providing state governments with greater authority to regulate marijuana-related activities, including retail sales.

“This legislation would end federal marijuana prohibition, address the collateral consequences of federal marijuana criminalization, and take steps to ensure the legal marketplace is diverse and inclusive,” MJC’s letter stated.

RELATED: Does The New MORE Act Have A Better Chance Of Passing?

The formal introduction of a separate Senate legalization bill being finalized by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and others is yet to come.  Schumer revealed his plan to file that bill — the Cannabis Administration & Opportunity Act (CAOA) — in April.

Smoking Marijuana
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

Marijuana Legalization Does Not Increase Teen Use   

In the meantime, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) director Nora Volkow reiterated on Wednesday that there is no evidence to support the erroneous claim that adolescent marijuana consumption has increased in states where it is legal, reported Marijuana Moment.

“Specifically in the United States, legalization by some states of marijuana has not been associated with an increase in adolescents’ marijuana use,” Volkow said in response to a question from Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA).

RELATED: Another Year Where Marijuana Legalization Doesn’t Increase Use In Adolescents

Cassidy said that Volkow’s assertion “surprises” him. “If you relax blue laws for alcohol, there ends up being more alcohol used by adolescents in that given county or parish,” he replied to the NIDA director.

Volkow said that officials are “seeing significant increases in adult use of marijuana and young people, but not in adolescence, which is different exactly from what you’re saying with the alcohol.”

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.

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