Republicans criticized Democratic leadership in the House, which will vote on a bill that would remove weed from the controlled substances list.
This month the House of Representatives will vote on a bill that would decriminalize cannabis federally and expunge marijuana cases for some. The vote, which will take place the week of Sept. 21, was put forward by Democratic leadership, but generated backlash from Republicans.
The GOP criticized Democrat priorities during the coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest in cities across America.
“We are dealing with a pandemic and mob violence is terrorizing major cities – so what’s first up on Speaker Pelosi’s agenda after a long House recess?” Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) tweeted. “No Joint Left Behind – A bill legalizing pot!”
We are dealing with a pandemic and mob violence is terrorizing major cities – so what’s first up on Speaker Pelosi’s agenda after a long House recess?
No Joint Left Behind – A bill legalizing pot! https://t.co/NYYsSRLEpW
— Rep. Ken Calvert (@KenCalvert) August 31, 2020
The measure, known as the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, had languished in Congressional chambers since last November, when the House judiciary committee passed the legislation.
The House already passed a $3 trillion stimulus package in May, but the Republican-controlled Senate has yet to approve COVID-19 relief legislation. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY.), right-hand man to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, told reporters that Senate Republicans plan to vote on their “skinny” stimulus bill worth about $1 trillion following Labor Day weekend.
Should the Democrat-controlled House approve the MORE Act, however, it would represent another piece of legislation with enormous media attention that has stalled in the Senate. A spokeswoman for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also spoke out against the bill, labeling it irresponsible due to its relevancy and health impact.
“The House has been out for weeks — the first legislative business the Democrat majority plans to take up is the legalization of marijuana,” McCarthy’s spokeswoman Michele Perez Exner tweeted. “In the midst of a pandemic associated with a respiratory tract infection, this is what Dem leaders have decided to make their priority.”
The House has been out for weeks – the first legislative business the Democrat majority plans to take up is the legalization of marijuana.
In the midst of a pandemic associated with a respiratory tract infection, this is what Dem leaders have decided to make their priority. https://t.co/8dtS3yQ9Np
— Michele Perez Exner (@michelepexner) August 31, 2020
Donald Trump’s re-election campaign also voiced a negative response to the announcement. Last month, Trump told Republicans to keep cannabis legalization off the ballots if they want to win and now worries marijuana could lose him the election.
“House Dems — more worried about pot dealers than providing relief for the American people,” Trump’s Director of Press Communications tweeted.
House Dems — more worried about pot dealers than providing relief for the American people. https://t.co/wJAGDJuaCs
— Erin Perrine (@ErinMPerrine) August 31, 2020
On the other hand, one Republican congressman who will vote “yes” on the MORE Act is Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL). He said on a recent episode of his podcast “Hot Takes With Matt Gaetz” that while he disapproves of “reparations” included in the bill, he will support the proposal.
“I believe in cannabis reform in this country. The federal government has lied to the American people for a generation about cannabis,” Gaetz said. “What are we going to do about it? The MORE Act.”