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Pingree Applauds Historic Committee Approval of Comprehensive Bill Legalizing Marijuana

Washington, November 20, 2019

In response to the news that the House Judiciary Committee voted to pass the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act on a 24-10 bipartisan vote, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) released the following statement:

“Today’s vote is a historic step toward setting a federal cannabis policy that works in the 21stcentury. Eleven states including Maine have already legalized marijuana even though it remains illegal under federal law. The MORE Act will remove a major hurdle for states by removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act list. It will also provide incentives for this industry to grow and succeed with new grant programs.

“I’m especially pleased that this legislation will right the wrongs of the misguided ‘war on drugs’ which has for decades disproportionally harmed disadvantaged communities and communities of color. The MORE Act will reassess marijuana convictions, create programs for restorative justice, and promote equal participation in the legal marijuana industry.”

BACKGROUND

Since the 2016 referendum legalizing recreational consumption of marijuana in Maine, Pingree has fought to create clear federal pathways for legalized states. She was an original cosponsor of the MORE Act, as well as the SAFE Banking Act, which would permit federally-insured financial institutions to work with marijuana-related businesses in legalized states. Pingree spoke in support of the SAFE Banking Act before its bipartisan passage in September 2019.

Pingree has also fought for justice for Maine’s hemp farmers, whose businesses has been at the mercy of unclear federal regulations around hemp sales. She and Congressman Jared Golden (D-Maine) wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in April and October 2019, asking for clarity around federal hemp rules.

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