Sometime this month, Congress is expected to vote on a bill that would decriminalize marijuana altogether. If that happens, it will mark a substantial shift in the nation’s “War on Drugs.” It could also have huge ramifications both for anybody awaiting trial on marijuana charges and those who have already been convicted on pot charges.
The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (called the MORE Act), would finally remove marijuana from the federal schedule of drugs established by the Controlled Substance Act. That list categorizes marijuana the same as heroin, as if it has no medicinal value whatsoever.
That narrative has quite obviously been deeply challenged by the move to allow the use of medical marijuana on a state-by-state level. It’s becoming increasingly hard to argue that the drug has no value to sufferers of many different conditions. It’s also considered vastly safer to use for pain control than prescription opiates.
Further shifts in public sentiment have also led several states to legalize the drug for recreational use by adults, making it essentially no different than alcohol.
A total of 99 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives support the MORE Act, which would also impose a 5% tax on marijuana products. If it becomes law, there will no longer be criminal penalties for people who manufacture, distribute or possess the drug. Under the MORE Act, people who have been convicted of marijuana-related crimes could also seek to have their criminal records expunged, which would give many a new lease on life without the shadow of a crime overhanging their efforts.
Successful or not, the fact that the MORE Act has such strong support is an indication that the government is finally catching on to the idea that prosecuting people over marijuana doesn’t really do anything. It’s far better to put the time, money and energy law enforcement has into dealing with more serious concerns.
If you’re facing charges related to drug possession, manufacturing or trafficking, take them seriously. Speak to an experienced defense attorney before you make the next move.