Two years back, when Republicans held the majority in the United States House of Representatives, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) was criticizing the failure of the House Republican leadership to allow a vote of the House membership on ending the US government’s marijuana prohibition, which Massie predicted would have passed. Massie further argued that the Republicans could have maintained their majority in the House — lost in the November of 2018 general election — if leadership had just allowed a House floor vote on the popular proposition that marijuana policy be left up to the states.
Now, after nearly two years of a Democratic majority and Democratic leadership in the House, Massie is criticizing the continued absence of a legalization vote on the House floor. In particular, in a Wednesday Matt Laslo article at The News Station, Massie is quoted as pointing to Democrats pushing the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act (HR 3884) instead of a clean legalization bill. Massie argues that this course of action is further delaying legislative progress toward ending the US government’s war on marijuana. Laslo quotes Massie as making the following appraisal of the MORE Act and presenting what Massie sees as a superior alternative approach for the House:
The five-term lawmaker bemoans that Democratic leaders plan to bring up the progressive MORE Act – which decriminalizes marijuana federally and invests money from federal taxes on cannabis into the communities hurt most by the war on ‘drugs.’ He says Republicans could get on board if it were just a bill ending the federal prohibition.
‘I think it’s really unfortunate that the Democrats politicized their own bill. It made it not just hard to get Republican support, but also it looks like they lost Democrat support,’ Massie said. ‘They should just do a straight up clean [decriminalization bill] – take it off the controlled substances list.’
Massie’s comments provide yet more indication that the inclusion of race-based provisions and marijuana business subsidies in the MORE Act makes it virtually Democrats-only legislation that has no hope of being approved in the Republican-majority US Senate or by President Donald Trump.
I have chronicled in several articles the progress of the MORE Act in the House and how focus on this bill instead of on a clean legalization bill can delay achieving marijuana legalization at the national level:
“House Judiciary Committee Planning to Pass Dead-End Marijuana Legalization Bill,” November 18, 2019
“Delay of MORE Act Vote Could Mean Sooner National Marijuana Legalization,” September 18, 2020
Massie is an Advisory Board member for the Ron Paul institute for Peace and Prosperity.
Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.