Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Congressman Cohen Cosponsors Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act

July 23, 2019
Press Release
Aims to correct historical injustices of failed war on drugs

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today joined House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Senator Kamala Harris of California in introducing the Marijuana Opportunity and Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. The bill aims to correct the injustices of our failed drug policies by removing Marijuana from Schedule I in the Control Substances Act, investing in communities that have been disproportionately affected, and requiring re-sentencing and expungement for prior convictions.   

Congressman Cohen made the following statement: 

“I’ve been working to reform our marijuana laws for most of my public life. Currently, our laws treat marijuana as more dangerous than cocaine, methamphetamine, or fentanyl.  This harsh policy has torn apart families and neighborhoods, and disproportionately impacted communities of color.  The MORE Act will fix this and give us a sensible and workable cannabis policy.  Importantly, the bill helps invests in the communities and people who have be most harmed by the War on Drugs.  The MORE Act will require resentencing and expungement for old marijuana convictions, providing thousands with new opportunities to fully reintegrate into society, advance their careers, and access the full range of federal benefits, including housing. Also, by taxing marijuana products, the bill funds re-entry, legal aid, literacy, and substance abuse treatment programs. This is real reform.”  

Taking marijuana out of Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act will result in more research on its properties. Marijuana has proven effective in treating PTSD, nausea related to chemotherapy, mitigating pain, boosting appetite and as an aid to sleep. 

The MORE Act authorizes a five percent sales tax on marijuana and marijuana products to create a Community Reinvestment Grant Program for services to support those adversely affected by the war on drugs. It also creates the Cannabis Opportunity Grant Program for loans to assist small businesses in the marijuana industry and opens Small Business Administration (SBA) funding for cannabis-related businesses. 

The MORE Act has the support of a broad coalition of civil rights, criminal justice, and drug policy groups, including: Drug Policy Alliance, Center for American Progress, 4thMVMT, ACLU, California Minority Alliance, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Human Rights Watch, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Sentencing Project, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, UndocuBlack Network, and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA). 

Earlier this year, Congressman Cohen introduced the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act of 2019 or the CARERS Act of 2019. That bill removes restrictions on, and creates new protections for, conduct and activities related to medical marijuana that are authorized by state law. 

Among other things, the bill does the following: 

  • eliminates regulatory controls and administrative, civil, and criminal penalties under the Controlled Substances Act for producing, possessing, distributing, dispensing, administering, testing, recommending, or delivering medical marijuana in compliance with state law; 
  • establishes a new, separate registration process to facilitate medical marijuana research; and 
  • authorizes health care providers employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to make recommendations to veterans regarding participation in state marijuana programs.