(Washington, D.C.) – Decriminalizing marijuana would begin to address the harms caused by America’s War on Drugs and communities, according to legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D–N.Y.) and several others Friday. Passage of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act in the U.S. House of Representatives would address the need for comprehensive marijuana reform in America. The following is a statement from Erinn Martin, policy counsel with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:
“For more than 80 years, the criminalization of marijuana has ravaged Black and Brown communities in this country. The MORE Act addresses the devastating impact federal marijuana laws have had on people of color, and in particular on Black Americans who are four times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than white Americans despite equal usage rates.
“It is time to right the wrongs caused by the War on Drugs and reinvest in communities devastated by it. Many Black Americans and other people of color have been trapped in a cycle of economic deprivation, as a prior cannabis-related conviction is a barrier to securing a good-paying job, accessing federal benefits and student loans, and so much more. We urge Congress to move swiftly to pass this legislation and bring relief to these communities.”
The MORE Act removes marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, allows for expungement and resentencing for individuals with cannabis offenses and invests in job-training, reentry services, legal aid, literacy programs, and more in communities.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and hate crimes. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org.