For Immediate Release:
April 1, 2022
Margaret Mulkerrin 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this morning urging support for H.R. 3617, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
“Marijuana has been legalized in nineteen states and the District of Colombia, and medical marijuana is legal in thirty-six states. Despite the changes in state laws and social norms around the usage of marijuana, its use remains illegal under federal law – often resulting in devastating consequences for Black, Latino, and Native communities.
“According to the Center for American Progress, Black Americans are four times more likely than white Americans to be arrested for marijuana possession, even though they use it at similar rates. These criminal records can haunt people of color and impact the trajectories of their lives and careers indefinitely. It can result in difficulty in finding employment, difficulty in finding housing, denial of access to government benefits, denial of financial aid at colleges and universities, and denial of the right to vote.
“The legislation before us would remove marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act, eliminating criminal charges for the possession, distribution, and manufacture of marijuana and enabling states to set their own policies. This bill also expunges the records of individuals convicted of non-violent federal cannabis offenses and provides resources for job training, re-entry services, and youth recreation and mentoring programs. It also addresses the disproportionate economic impact of the war on drugs by providing access to small business grants, opening up the legal marketplace to communities that have been largely excluded.
“This is a matter of justice and equal opportunity. It is about addressing systemic inequities and reforming our criminal justice system so that America can become a better, stronger, and fairer nation.
“I thank my friend, Chairman Nadler, once again for his leadership on this bill. I’d also like to thank Rep. Barbara Lee for her tireless efforts to advance this legislation, as well as Rep. Ed Perlmutter for being an unwavering partner. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, once again, to join in passing this bill.”