Big step forward on cannabis reform

December 4, 2020

The House just held a historic vote to end the federal prohibition of cannabis. 

This is what people have been demanding for years. National support for legalizing cannabis recently hit an all-time high, with more than two-thirds of American adults in favor of legalization.  

But reforming national cannabis policy is not only the popular thing to do. It’s the moral thing. Through the federal policy of cannabis criminalization, Congress has failed the American people.

We’ve failed parents whose babies are tortured by extreme seizure disorders but can’t access medical cannabis, the only thing that provides relief.

We’ve failed veterans with wounds seen and unseen, who are even more vulnerable than other citizens to the opioid crisis that is gripping the nation. They are being forced outside of the VA system to seek a recommendation for medical cannabis.

We’ve failed our children, who have easier access to cannabis than they do a six-pack of beer because no neighborhood drug dealer checks I.D. or worries about losing their license in a regulated system. 

We’ve failed the $17 billion industry that doesn't have access to financial services. This is an invitation to money laundering, theft, and tax evasion.

And we’ve failed hundreds of thousands of young Black and Brown men, who have had their lives destroyed because of selective enforcement of cannabis laws. It’s wrong that 600,000 people a year are still being arrested or cited for something that the overwhelming majority of Americans now think should be legal.

The legislation approved by the House today is an opportunity to strike a blow against the failed war on drugs. We are one step closer to restorative justice, opportunity and equity.  

If you’d like to read more about the MORE Act, you can click here to read an op-ed I wrote on CNN with my Cannabis Caucus co-chair Rep. Barbara Lee.  

Our work does not stop here. Next, we’ll make our case to the U.S. Senate and hope to end the failed prohibition of cannabis once and for all.