House Committee Hearing on Cannabis Policies Scheduled for Next Week

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a hearing Wednesday on future federal cannabis policies and review current federal regulations. 

Another House committee is scheduled to review federal cannabis policies during a congressional hearing, an announcement that reflects federal lawmakers’ shifting attitudes on marijuana.

On Wednesday, Jan. 15, a subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a discussion entitled “Cannabis Policies for the New Decade.”

Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) released a joint statement on the upcoming cannabis hearing.

“As public opinion continues to evolve and cannabis policies change at all levels of government, it’s important to bring federal agency officials together to discuss current and future federal cannabis policies,” the news release stated.

Health and energy representatives noted that specific cannabis topics were of interest for committee review.

“We’re particularly interested in examining the implications of changing marijuana’s schedule listing, the potential of cannabis research, and federal efforts to review and approve cannabidiol products,” Pallone and Eshoo said.

Health subcommittee representatives have not yet released information on who will testify, or if any bills will be discussed. Seven weeks ago, the House Judiciary Committee made history approving the first-ever comprehensive cannabis bill.

The committee voted 24-10 to approve the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. The legislation’s sponsor is House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) who previously told Marijuana Moment that his office was “carrying on conversations” with other committees to advance the marijuana reform bill to the full floor.

“I don’t anticipate that to be a big problem,” Nadler said. “We are looking forward to moving this to the floor at an appropriate time when we’ve done some more educational work and have the votes.”

The House’s Energy and Commerce Committee holds the broadest jurisdiction of any authorizing Congressional committee. It covers a wide variety of issues such as; food, drug, device and cosmetic safety; consumer protection and product safety; interstate and foreign commerce; and health care, including mental health and substance abuse.

The MORE Act

Nadler introduced the MORE Act (H.R. 3884) in July 2019, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) followed suit, proposing a companion bill in the Senate. The More Act would decriminalize cannabis at the federal level and expunge prior convictions. The bill would also give states the power to create individual marijuana policy.

The cannabis reform act has good odds of approval in the full House, considering Democrats control the chamber with 234 seats. However, the bill will likely face more opposition in the Senate, which has Republican control.

What is the MORE Act?
In Sept. 2019, Congress passed the SAFE Banking Act, a standalone cannabis reform bill focused on protecting financial institutions providing services to cannabis-related businesses. The bill’s passage received criticism from cannabis reform advocates who disapproved of the bill’s lack of social justice reform.

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