Congressman Panetta Cosponsors MORE Act to Decriminalize Marijuana on the Federal Level

February 7, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) announced that he cosponsored H.R. 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. The bill decriminalizes marijuana at the federal level, reassesses marijuana convictions, and invests in local communities.

"The federal government has lagged behind as states like California continue to modernize how we regulate and decriminalize cannabis," said Congressman Panetta. "The MORE Act not only deschedules cannabis at the federal level, it also provides a roadmap for states to legalize in a just and equitable manner."

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act:

  • Decriminalizes marijuana at the federal level by removing the substance from the Controlled Substances Act. This applies retroactively to prior and pending convictions, and enables states to set their own policy.
  • Requires federal courts to expunge prior convictions, allows prior offenders to request expungement, and requires courts, on motion, to conduct re-sentencing hearings for those still under supervision.
  • Authorizes the assessment of a 5% sales tax on marijuana and marijuana products to create an Opportunity Trust Fund, which includes three grant programs:
    • The Community Reinvestment Grant Program: Provides services to the individuals most adversely impacted by the War on Drugs, including job training, re-entry services, legal aid, literacy programs, youth recreation, mentoring, and substance use treatment. 
    • The Cannabis Opportunity Grant Program: Provides funds for loans to assist small businesses in the marijuana industry that are owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
    • The Equitable Licensing Grant Program: Provides funds for programs that minimize barriers to marijuana licensing and employment for the individuals most adversely impacted by the War on Drugs.
  • Opens up Small Business Administration funding for legitimate cannabis-related businesses and service providers.
  • Provides non-discrimination protections for marijuana use or possession, and for prior convictions for a marijuana offense:
    • Prohibits the denial of any federal public benefit (including housing) based on the use or possession of marijuana, or prior conviction for a marijuana offense.
    • Provides that the use or possession of marijuana, or prior conviction for a marijuana offense, will have no adverse impact under the immigration laws.
  • Requires the Bureau of Labor Statistics to collect data on the demographics of the industry to ensure people of color and those who are economically disadvantaged are participating in the industry.

In September 2019, Congressman Panetta voted for H.R. 1595, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, to allow cannabis-related businesses in states with existing regulatory structures to access the banking system.