The U.S. Has Delayed an Important Vote on Federal Cannabis Legalization – Here’s What You Need to Know

What The MORE Act Would Mean For Cannabis Legalization

For months, American cannabis consumers have anticipated a historic decision to be made regarding the legalization of cannabis at the federal level. The vote would determine whether or not cannabis would be removed from the Controlled Substances Act.

But just days before the vote was set to take place, the House of Representatives decided to delay the vote until after the upcoming federal election. Will this decision affect the likelihood that the bill will pass, or are the House democrats taking a big risk? Read below to learn more.

The MORE Act Would Make A Huge Difference For Cannabis Users In America


In late August, the House scheduled time during the week of Sept. 21, 2020, to vote on the MORE Act. The act, which stands for Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, was already popular. It had 87 co-sponsors in the House, and policy insiders said they expected the bill to pass.

The House Judiciary Committee approved the act in November 2019, which opened the possibility for the full House to vote. Specifically, the House would vote on whether or not the bill would be passed on to the Senate – and then, the President.

If this historic legislation were passed, cannabis would be removed from the Controlled Substances Act. This would make a huge difference for cannabis users and businesses, as many cannabis-related reforms would follow.

The act would support the expungement of past cannabis-related convictions, create a tax that would fund support for communities affected by the war on drugs, and ensure that cannabis use cannot negatively affect an American’s ability to secure benefits.

It’s safe to assume that the act had a high chance of being passed. The House of Representatives contains 435 members – 235 of which are Democrats and 199 of which are Republicans. Reps from the Democratic Party mostly support the bill, and some Republicans have even voted in favor of it.

The Vote Has Been Delayed – So What Now?


The House scrapped the plan to vote on the act in September, delaying it to an unspecified date after the federal election. They have chosen instead to prioritize a possible coronavirus aid bill, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer explained:

“[The House] is focused relentlessly on securing agreement to stave off a damaging government shutdown and continuing to do its job addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Politico writers Sarah Ferris and Natalie Fertig explain that moderates feared the bill would not pass the Senate this year, and delaying it will increase its chances of success.

Critics of the decision, meanwhile, say that the delay shows that cannabis legalization is being pushed under the rug and that politicians are showing they do not actually care about the bill.

Hoyer says that the House is “committed to bringing [the bill] to the Floor for a vote before the end of the year.”