By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
December 10, 2020
The U.S. House of Representatives voted to remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances, Friday, December 4. The vote was historic in that this is the first time Congress has voted on the matter. The Senate is not expected to take up the legislation.
Presumptive Vice President-Elect, Kamala Harris, is the chief sponsor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE). The initiative proposes to legalize marijuana on the federal level, regulate and tax its production, and create grant programs for minorities, whom proponents argue are disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. It would also expunge federal marijuana convictions dating back to 1971.
“Unfortunately, if Trump does not prevail in his claims against voter fraud and ultimately loses his re-election bid, it’s these kinds of wanton and wicked public-policy measures that we can expect from a Biden-Harris administration,” said Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “This is why the two seats up for grabs in a run-off election in Georgia are so critical at this time. If Republicans lose those two seats and the Democrats win, there is no longer a firewall to protect the American people from these grossly misdirected initiatives. I don’t know if you are making these circumstances front and center in your prayers, but if not, you should because the stakes are incredibly high.”
Dr. Kevin Sabet, a former senior drug policy advisor to former President Obama and president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), a national organization that opposes pot legalization, said the vote should be kept in perspective. Sabet claims that despite the pot industry acting as if they had won Game 7 of the World Series, they had only won nothing more than an exhibition game. In effect, the vote was merely symbolic.
In his statement released to the press, Sabet also said:
“The bill is a smokescreen for Altria Phillip Morris and their Big Tobacco gang of investors. As we have seen in state after state, marijuana commercialization does not lead to any tangible benefit for disadvantaged communities, and social equity programs continue to be manipulated. Legalization simply results in rich, overwhelmingly white men getting richer while using predatory marketing tactics to expand substance abuse in the communities that were somehow supposed to benefit. Big pot doesn’t care about social justice or equity; its only concern is profit.
“It’s worth remembering that when this vote would have actually meant something, it was canceled.”
Sabet was referring to a vote on the legislation, which was supposed to take place back in October, but was canceled because of push-back from some moderate Democrats who argued the House ought to be focused on COVID relief and not the legalization of weed.
Sabet added that the MORE Act was voted on in an “unserious manner… Its proponents know it passed and died simultaneously, a rare feat even for this Congress. The COVID pandemic rages on. Millions of Americans are sick. Thousands are dying every day. We have record unemployment. That this bill, at this time, jumps to the head of the legislative line is a sad testament to the priorities of House leadership.”
Vote on the MORE Act comes on the heels of four more states passing ballot measures for recreational marijuana in the November elections. Those states are Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota. Mississippi and South Dakota approved marijuana ballot initiatives for medicinal purposes. This puts the total at 34 states that have approved marijuana as a medicine, plus 15 states and Washington D.C., which now allow recreational pot for adult use.
In November, the “Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice,” a government group established by Governor Roy Cooper in response to Black Lives Matter protests, is preparing to present a proposal for decriminalizing marijuana in the Tar Heel state. According to various media sources, Attorney General Josh Stein, who leads the task force, says he also supports decriminalization of marijuana.”
“Regardless of how the opposition to marijuana legalization may spin the vote by the U.S. House, with four more states voting to approve recreational weed, two states voting for medicinal use, and the Governor of this state, the state’s Attorney General, and Democrats in the General Assembly ready to push for decriminalization, the pressure is on for us as never before,” said Dr. Creech. “The task of stopping the steady drumbeat of approval is daunting, but we can’t give up this fight. We are talking about the health and safety of our neighbors, and looser marijuana laws only encourage greater use of what science continues to show is a dangerous drug.”