(Washington, D.C.) — The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act Friday which would decriminalize the usage of marijuana at the federal level and would begin to address the harms caused by America’s War on Drugs on Black communities and other communities of color.
The following are statements from experts at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:
Damon Hewitt, president and executive director: “We applaud the passage of the MORE Act by the House of Representatives, and urge the Senate to swiftly take this bill up. For decades, our nation waged a disastrous ‘war on drugs,’ that has resulted in long sentences—primarily for Black people and other people of color. The war on drugs drove the disturbing rise of mass incarceration nationwide, disrupting families and derailing the lives of millions of Americans. The MORE Act would legalize marijuana, and expunge or reduce the sentences of millions of Americans who have been caught in this web of harmful criminal justice policy.”
Sydney Richardson-Gorski, policy associate: “A top Nixon adviser admitted the war on drugs was never just about the drugs. It was a war on Black people and later Latinx, Indigenous, and low-income communities in an effort to destabilize them and the movements they have led. The criminalization of marijuana has had a devastating effect on our communities, and the solutions to the problem need to have a focus on those most impacted. The MORE Act does just that. With comprehensive reforms like retroactive decriminalization, a new Office of Cannabis Justice, and targeted tax applications, the MORE Act takes a vital step toward repair. We urge the 117th Congress to pass the MORE Act into law and start us down an equitable path rooted in racial and social justice.”
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.