Historic House Vote on MORE Act | Potential Marijuana Legalization



    Will the federal ban on cannabis be lifted? This is a question many Americans are currently asking. The U.S. House of Representatives is set to debate the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, also referred to as the MORE Act. With more and more states moving toward legalization, now seems like the time to pass new federal laws regarding cannabis. In fact, if the Act is passed, this will be the first-ever congressional vote to remove the ban on marijuana. So, what will change if the House votes in favor of the MORE Act?

    According to NJ.com, the Act would “require federal courts to expunge prior marijuana convictions, tax weed to help communities hardest hit by the war on drugs, fund job training, and provide loans to minority-owned small businesses seeking to enter the cannabis industry.” Additionally, NJ.com points out that descheduling the drug will “give banks the ability to offer credit cards and checking accounts to legal cannabis businesses, and make it easier to study any medicinal benefits of pot.”

    While things seem to be moving toward the direction of eventual legalization, it will be a slow and complicated process. It is important to remember that while the country seems more accepting of cannabis use than ever, the current United States laws regarding marijuana use and possession still apply. Currently, marijuana is classified as a schedule 1 drug. This means it is in the same category as drugs with high addiction and abuse potentials, such as heroin, ecstasy, and LSD. Passing the MORE Act would deschedule marijuana.

    Below are the current New York Marijuana possession charges:

    • 28 grams or less: This is a violation, which comes with a $50 fine
    • Between 28 grams and 2 ounces: This is a violation, which comes with a $200 fine
    • More than 2-8 ounces: Misdemeanor, up to 1 year in jail, a $1,000 fine
    • More than 8 ounces-1 pound: Felony charge, up to 4 years in jail, a $5,000 fine
    • More than 1-10 pounds: Felony charge, up to 7 years in jail, a $5,000 fine
    • More than 10 pounds: Felony charge, up to 15 years in jail, a $15,000 fine

    If you or a loved one has been charged with a marijuana-related crime, you will need to retain the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Reach out to our firm to discuss your case. Do not hesitate to reach out if you are curious about how the potential new laws may impact you.

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    Criminal matters can change the course of your life forever. This is why you need an experienced attorney who will aggressively combat your charges to help mitigate their long-term effects. If you are in need of experienced legal counsel for a criminal defense matter on Long Island or throughout New York State, please contact Grunwald & Seman, P.C. to schedule a consultation. We would be happy to assist you.

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