Press Releases

House Passes Legislation to Decriminalize Marijuana and Expunge Federal Convictions

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Washington, DC, December 4, 2020 | comments

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act (H.R. 3884) with the support of Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01). The MORE Act would:

  • Decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.
  • Allow federal marijuana-related convictions and criminal records to be expunged, resentenced, and sealed.
  • Invest in communities that have been disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs.

This is the first time either house of Congress has voted to decriminalize marijuana.

In 2017, police made 659,700 arrests for marijuana-related violations. That is over 21 percent higher than the total number of people arrested for violent crimes (518,617) in the same year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The MORE Act would expunge low-level federal convictions, which have been selectively enforced against people of color, especially Black men.

The bill would also grant state governments full jurisdiction over marijuana policy, ensuring that the statewide legalization of marijuana, like Washington did in 2012, no longer conflicts with federal law.

“States like Washington have been at the forefront of removing antiquated marijuana laws that have historically targeted communities of color. The MORE Act is an opportunity to reinvest in these communities, expunge drug convictions to give people a second chance, and allow states to make the decisions that best serve their residents,” said DelBene.

DelBene is a cosponsor of H.R. 3884. The full bill text is available here.

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