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With Historic Vote, Pingree Supports Passage of Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana at the Federal Level

Bipartisan Bill Would Remove Barriers for Maine’s Recreational Marijuana Industry, Conflicts Between State and Federal Law

Joining her U.S. House colleagues in the historic passage of the bipartisan Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, today Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) voted to decriminalize marijuana and remove federal obstacles for Maine’s burgeoning legal marijuana industry. 

“The MORE Act will create new opportunities for Maine’s legal marijuana industry to expand by removing conflicts between state and federal law and creating new grant and lending opportunities. Passage of this law comes at a critical moment, as small businesses are struggling and our state faces a significant revenue shortfall caused by the pandemic,” said Congresswoman Pingree. “Maine’s recreational marijuana market yielded $1.4 million in sales in its first month, offering much-needed tax revenues to our state. Once the MORE Act removes federal barriers for Maine’s legal marijuana industry, our small businesses, banks and credit unions, and our state’s bottom line will continue to grow.” 

The MORE Act also aims to correct the historical injustices of failed drug policies that have disproportionately impacted communities of color and low-income communities by decriminalizing and de-scheduling marijuana at the federal level, reassessing marijuana convictions, and investing in local communities. If signed into law, the MORE Act would:

  • Remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act 
  • Authorize funding for the expungement of criminal records 
  • Eliminate marijuana use as grounds for adverse immigration decisions 
  • Create a fund to assist women-owned and minority-owned marijuana businesses 
  • Provide grants for local governments to enact licensing programs 
  • Make Small Business Administration (SBA) loans available to cannabis businesses
  • Allow doctors who are affiliated with the U.S. Veterans Affairs (VA) Administration to prescribe medical marijuana in states where it is legal
  • Require the Bureau of Labor Statistics to collect data on the demographics of the industry to ensure equitable participation 

Since the 2016 referendum legalizing recreational consumption of marijuana in Maine, Congresswoman Pingree has fought to create clear federal pathways for legalized states. Pingree 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.

In an op-ed published today in the Portland Press Herald, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree detailed her support for the MORE Act and why Maine and other states with legal recreational marijuana are poised to benefit from the historic law. Read the full op-ed here. After the 2020 election, 35 states including Maine have legalized either medical or recreational use of cannabis.


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