Congressman Cohen Votes to Advance Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, today spoke in favor of and voted to advance the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act from the Committee to a House floor vote. The measure removes cannabis from the list of federal controlled substances, raises revenue from sales to reinvest in communities disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs and expunges the records of federal criminal marijuana offenses.
In his remarks at the committee mark up, Congressman Cohen said in part:
“The bottom line is that the war on drugs was a failure and marijuana is less harmful to our society than alcohol, by far, and nicotine and it should not be a Schedule 1 drug and never should have been a Schedule 1 drug. It was only put there years ago because of antiquated thinking, if you call it thinking, to try to get people angered and direct their anger at Latinas, Latinos and African Americans and, later, at white hippies…who opposed the war in Vietnam….
“They found a way to criminalize marijuana in such a way people looked at it as just something musicians did, African American musicians, jazz musicians, Hispanics did and then, later, white hippies did. They tried to disenfranchise them, take away their rights by convicting them, putting them in jail and they were fodder for a criminal justice system gone astray…
“Americans have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and people who are smoking marijuana, part of what they’re doing is the pursuit of happiness. For the government to put them in jail and take away their rights – they can’t get food stamps, can’t get college scholarships because of marijuana convictions -- that’s absurd, just totally absurd. This bill is an effort in the right direction.”
See his entire remarks here.
Congressman Cohen is a cosponsor of the MORE Act.