STATEMENT: MORE Act Would Address Racial Disparities in Marijuana Legalization, Says CAP’s Ed Chung

Washington, D.C. — Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. The MORE Act would remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances and address historical and current racial inequities through specific grant programs.

The MORE Act is the most far-reaching marijuana reform bill centered on social justice introduced in Congress in recent years. By removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and making way for the expungement and resentencing of marijuana convictions, this bill would reduce racial disparities in the criminal justice system and ensure that marijuana activity no longer jeopardizes a person’s immigration status or ability to receive federal benefits. Moreover, it would provide funds for services in communities most harmed by the war on drugs and diversify the regulated marijuana industry by supporting entrepreneurs whose communities bore the brunt of this country’s lopsided marijuana enforcement.

Following the bill’s introduction, Ed Chung, vice president for Criminal Justice Reform at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

We applaud Chairman Nadler and Senator Harris for introducing the MORE Act. Marijuana legalization is overwhelmingly popular—nearly 70 percent of Americans support it—but for legalization to be meaningful, it must address harms to black and brown communities as a result of the failed war on drugs. The MORE Act does just that by centering racial and social justice. We look forward to working with Congress in the coming weeks to move this bill to the floor for a vote and secure justice for individuals affected by this country’s drug war.

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