- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, appealed directly to members of one of the country’s leading marijuana legalization groups to help him pass a bill to end prohibition.

Mr. Nadler, New York Democrat, penned a message sent Monday to members of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, better known as NORML, touting the recently introduced Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act.

“America has a moral responsibility to pass my legislation to end the prohibition of marijuana and take on the oppression at the heart of the War on Drugs,” Mr. Nadler wrote. “I’m proud to work with NORML to create a more just national marijuana policy.”

Also posted to NORML’s website, Mr. Nadler’s message asked marijuana activists to contact their own members of Congress about the bill in hopes of having them sign on as co-sponsors.

Introduced last month by Mr. Nadler and 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, California Democrat, the bipartisan, bicameral MORE Act would effectively decriminalize marijuana at the federal level by removing the plant from the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, among other measures.

Although several bills pending on Capitol Hill would end marijuana prohibition if passed, Mr. Nadler’s clout as chair of the influential House panel may help make his proposal the first to pass.

“With Chairman Nadler’s leadership, we believe that the MORE Act will likely be the first bill to end federal marijuana criminalization ever to pass in a chamber of Congress,” NORML political director Justin Strekal told Forbes where the congressman’s message was first reported. “Representative democracy is not a spectator sport. Now is the time for the majority of Americans who support legalization to demand reform from their legislators, just as Mr. Nadler’s message to our members indicated.”

In addition to federally decriminalizing marijuana, passing of the MORE Act would require courts to expunge certain prior related convictions, assess a 5% tax on marijuana sales and allow for legitimate cannabis businesses to become eligible for federal grants and funding.

The bill is currently sponsored by 34 members of the House and five members of the Senate — all Democrats except for Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida Republican.

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