Pelosi Statement On House Passage Of MORE Act To Federally Decriminalize Marijuana

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after the House passed H.R. 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, while taking long overdue steps to address the devastating injustices of the criminalization of marijuana and the vastly disproportionate impact it has had on communities of color:

“Today, with the bipartisan MORE Act, the House has proudly passed one of the most important criminal justice reform bills in recent history.  This momentous step helps end the devastating injustices of the criminalization of marijuana that have disproportionately impacted low income communities and communities of color, and reflects the overwhelming will of the American people — 47 states have recently reformed marijuana laws, with California at the helm of this justice effort.  
“The MORE Act builds on these advancements and finally secures justice for those negatively impacted by the brutal, unfair consequences of criminalization.  This landmark legislation will also open the doors of opportunity for all people to participate in the growing cannabis industry and provide revenue and resources to communities to grow.
“Guided by the tireless voices of advocates and young people, and the leadership of Democrats, the House has achieved an extraordinary victory for our fundamental values of justice, equality and opportunity for all.  Our Majority will fight to enact this vital legislation as we work to lift up communities of color and advance progress for all.”

Pittsburgh City Council Votes To Decriminalize Possession Of Small Amounts Of Marijuana

PENNSYLVANIA: By a vote of 7-2, Pittsburgh City Council passed a measure to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana this morning.

The bill allows city police to fine up to $100 for possessing less than 30 grams of marijuana, or 8 grams of hashish, instead of citing them for a misdemeanor. Its sponsor, Public Safety Committee chair Daniel Lavelle, previously said the measure was intended to “help break the damning life-long consequences of unemployment, lack of education, and being caught in a revolving criminal justice system.”

Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith, who along with Darlene Harris voted against the bill, said she sympathized with those goals, but said it was “irresponsible” to pass such a bill at the local level. She noted that her district, which encompasses southern and western neighborhoods in the city, borders other municipalities where such measures have not been discussed.

Given that, she said, “I think [the bill] gives a false sense of security to people driving on the streets,” and if people were pulled over by police in those communities, the confrontation “could actually escalate to something much more serious than a fine.”

Pot May Have Been Decriminalized In Maryland, But Bongs Are Still Illegal

MARYLAND:  An anomaly in Maryland’s marijuana laws will remain in place after Republican Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed a bill that passed the General Assembly.

Decriminalization of marijuana got the approval of lawmakers last year. But this year the General Assembly sought to correct an oversight in the original law regarding marijuana paraphernalia.

While possession of 10 grams or less of the drug can no longer put someone in prison, possessing the means to use it — like a pipe or a bong— still can. Supporters say that’s like ending alcohol prohibition but keeping wine glasses illegal.

A bill decriminalizing marijuana paraphernalia passed the General Assembly this year, but paraphernalia isn’t why Hogan will veto it, a move made at the urging of Maryland’s State’s Attorney’s, Chiefs of Police, and Sheriff’s Associations.