The House Rules Committee has postponed a hearing on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act until March 30, which could delay the possibility of a floor vote in the full chamber.
In addition, the legislation, House Bill 3617, has received five proposed amendments, ranging from topics of testing impaired drivers to penalizing individuals who sell cannabis to minors and funding studies related to the impacts of legalization. Three of those amendments were offered by Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., who voted against a previous version of the bill in 2020.
The Rules Committee had originally scheduled a March 28 hearing for the legislation, which aims to remove cannabis from the U.S. Controlled Substance Act, before moving it back two days.
Sponsored by U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the bill was first introduced in July 2019 and was passed by the full lower chamber via a 228-164 vote in December 2020. That marked the first time a full body of Congress voted on a broad cannabis decriminalization measure.
When House lawmakers announced their intentions last week to move forward with further consideration of the current form of the bill, NORML Political Director Morgan Fox thanked political leaders who’ve advocated for and worked toward cannabis reform.
“Advancing this legislation to deschedule marijuana and to help those individuals and communities that have borne the brunt of America’s failed prohibition is pivotal,” Fox said in a statement. “More than two-thirds of Americans support repealing the federal prohibition of marijuana and they deserve to know where our elected officials stand on this issue.”
The five amendments introduced for committee consideration include:
- Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., submitted a proposal that aims to require the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Attorney General, to develop best practices for the recognition and testing of drivers impaired by cannabis.
- Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., submitted a proposal that aims to authorize $10 million for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to conduct research on technologies and methods that law enforcement may use to determine whether a driver is impaired by cannabis.
- Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., submitted a proposal that aims to direct the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to conduct a study on the impact of legalization to the workplace, using states that have legalized adult-use cannabis as a guide. The amendment would also require NIOSH to develop best practices for employers as companies transition their policies related to cannabis, prioritizing employers engaged in federal infrastructure projects, transportation, public safety and national security.
- Lamb submitted another proposal that aims to direct the Department of Education to conduct a study on the impact of legalization to schools and school-aged children, using states that have legalized adult-use cannabis as a guide. The amendment would also require the Department of Education to develop best practices for educators and administrators to protect children from negative impacts.
- And Lamb submitted a third proposal that aims to maintain the penalties in the Controlled Substance Act for selling or providing minors with cannabis and for distributing cannabis near schools.
Like Lamb, Bishop also voted against the House’s 2020 passed version of the MORE Act, while Gottheimer voted in favor of it.
The previous version of the bill died in the Senate with then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the driver’s seat.
Despite the Rules Committee postponement, the MORE Act was still listed on the House calendar, as of midday March 28, as an item that may be considered this week.