WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) today issued the following statement on the House passage of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act:
“In the midst of an ongoing national reckoning on racial injustice, it is imperative that we confront and dismantle the very policies that have caused generations of systemic hurt and harm to our Black and brown communities.
“For far too long, the War on Drugs has been a racist mantra for the overcriminalization and racially biased policing that has ravaged our communities, torn apart our families and deeply entrenched the unjust system of mass incarceration in America. This must end.
“By passing the MORE Act, sweeping legislation which would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and combat the long-standing mass incarceration crisis by allowing for the expungement and resentencing of federal cannabis convictions, this Democratic-led House of Representatives has taken a historic step towards unraveling the harm perpetuated by systemic racism and setting our nation on a path to restorative justice and healing for families and communities disproportionately impacted by decades of unfair and unjust drug policy—like my own.
“This bill will also promote economic and racial justice by helping to ensure that the very Black and brown communities ravaged by the crisis are not left behind in reaping the economic benefits, investments and critical jobs resulting from decriminalization. While marijuana legalization has gained momentum across the nation, less than 1% of the cannabis industry is owned and operated by Black and brown folks. The MORE Act will ensure that the communities most impacted have a meaningful seat at the table by facilitating diverse and inclusive licensing programs and ensuring financial investments go right back into the Black and brown communities that need it most. I urge the Senate to immediately bring this bill for a vote.
“The time for incremental reform has passed. We have a resounding mandate from the people to pursue precise, intentional legislation that meets the scale and scope of the harm inflicted on our communities. As we look ahead to the 117th Congress and the incoming administration, I will continue advocating for policies and budgets that declare that Black Lives Matter and finally put an end to the systems and policies that uphold racism in our country.”
# # #