Pingree Votes to Decriminalize Marijuana at the Federal Level
Pingree is a cosponsor of the historic MORE Act, which decriminalizes marijuana and aims to correct the historical injustices of failed drug policies
Today, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and the U.S. House of Representatives passed one of the most comprehensive marijuana reform bills ever introduced in the U.S. Congress. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act decriminalizes marijuana at the federal level and aims to correct the historical injustices of failed drug policies that have disproportionately impacted communities of color and low-income communities by requiring resentencing and expungement of prior cannabis convictions. This will create new opportunities for individuals as they work to advance their careers, education, and overall quality of life. The MORE Act also ensures that all benefits in the law are available to juvenile offenders.
“In the first year of sales, Maine’s legal recreational cannabis industry brought in $60 million, offering the state much-needed tax revenues during a critical time of economic recovery from the pandemic. But because marijuana remains criminalized at the federal level, legal proprietors have had to contend with numerous hurdles that other industries do not. With marijuana decriminalized on the federal level, burdensome legal hurdles that hinder the industry’s growth will be removed and these entrepreneurs won’t be treated as if they are operating outside of the law,” Congresswoman Pingree said. “The criminalization of marijuana has predominantly affected Black Americans – creating sometimes-lifelong barriers to jobs, education, and housing. The MORE Act takes vital steps to correct many of the injustices in America’s racially motivated drug policies. As a cosponsor of the MORE Act, I proudly cast my vote to decriminalize marijuana today so we can support our communities, strengthen our state economies, and uplift those who have been affected by our failed 50-year War on Drugs.”
The MORE Act:
The MORE Act has the support of a broad coalition of civil rights, criminal justice, drug policy, and immigration groups, including: the Drug Policy Alliance, Center for American Progress, ACLU, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Human Rights Watch, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NORML, Sentencing Project, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, UndocuBlack Network, and Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).
In the 116th Congress, Pingree and the House of Representatives passed the MORE Act by a bipartisan vote of 228 to 164, marking the first time a Congressional chamber had voted to decriminalize marijuana.
Since the 2016 referendum legalizing recreational consumption of marijuana in Maine, 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. Read more about how Pingree supports Maine’s cannabis economy here.
In an op-ed published in the Portland Press Herald in December 2020, 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.
After the 2020 election, 35 states including Maine have legalized either medical or recreational use of cannabis.