The bill, authored by House Judiciary Committee ChairmanJerry Nadler(D-N.Y.) and titled the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, would remove cannabis from the list of federal controlled substances and eliminate criminal penalties associated with the drug.
It would also impose a federal tax on marijuana sales to fund programs to help communities negatively impacted by the war on drugs.
The measure would further seek establish a process to expunge previous marijuana-related convictions.
“I have long believed that the criminalization of marijuana has been a mistake. The racially disparate enforcement of marijuana laws has only made it worse, with serious consequences, particularly for communities of color,” Nadler said when the House Judiciary Committee advanced the bill last fall.
The House passed a version of the legislation in December 2020 largely along party lines. At the time, six centrist Democrats voted against the bill while five Republicans backed it.
The bill didn’t advance in the Senate because it was controlled by Republicans at the time and the vote occurred near the end of that session of Congress.
Some states have already moved to legalize marijuana in some form.