Democrats in the House of Representatives postponed a planned vote next week on marijuana legalization following a backlash from moderate Democrats.
The legislation, the MORE Act, would legalize marijuana at the federal level and expunge some marijuana-related criminal records, though it left the decision on the sale of marijuana up to the states.
According to a senior Democratic aide, lawmakers in tough re-election contests wanted the House to first pass COVID-19 relief before acting on marijuana legalization.
Another senior Democratic aide said a group of moderate Democrats had made the case to party leadership that they wanted to focus on legislation other than pot legalization given the risks posed at the ballot box – and their argument won over party leaders.
The MORE Act would probably not come up until after the election, according to two aides.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said in a statement the House would pass the MORE Act “later this autumn,” but right now, “the House is focused relentlessly on securing agreement to stave off a damaging government shutdown and continuing to do its job addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.” [Read more at USA Today]