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December 04, 2020

Congressman Trone Votes to Decriminalize Marijuana, Strike Criminal Records of Americans Charged with Marijuana-Related Offenses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hannah Muldavin, Hannah.Muldavin@mail.house.gov 

 

Congressman Trone Votes to Decriminalize Marijuana, Strike Criminal Records of Americans Charged with Marijuana-Related Offenses

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Congressman David Trone (MD-06) voted in favor of H.R. 3884 Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, historic legislation to decriminalize marijuana and strike the criminal records of those convicted of marijuana offenses. 

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), although white and Black Americans use marijuana at roughly the same rate, Black Americans are over 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana-related crimes. The collateral consequences of a marijuana conviction can create barriers to voting, housing, educational opportunities, and the ability to find employment. 

The bipartisan MORE Act decriminalizes marijuana at the federal level, while enabling states to set their own regulatory policies without threat of federal intervention.  It takes 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.  It imposes taxes on the cannabis industry and uses the revenues to fund key services targeted to those adversely impacted by federal criminalization of marijuana – with people of color almost 4 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than their White counterparts, despite equal rates of use across populations. 

“The MORE Act isn’t just about reforming our country’s antiquated drug policy, it’s about correcting a systemic injustice that disproportionately impacts communities of color,” said Congressman Trone. “Decriminalizing marijuana and expunging the records of those charged with marijuana offenses brings us one step closer to creating a justice system that works for all Americans.”

One of Trone’s key issues in Congress is criminal justice reform. Before coming to Congress, Trone worked with the ACLU for over 20 years to create meaningful reforms, and in 2015, the ACLU formed the Trone Center for Justice and Equality in recognition of that partnership.

In Congress, Trone has championed legislation to create a more equitable justice system. He has introduced bills to incentivize local governments and community partners to invest in programs to reduce jail populations and reform their pretrial justice systems, ban the box on private sector employment applications, and repeal the ban on incarcerated individuals receiving Pell Grants. He has also , and lead efforts to increase federal investments in state juvenile justice programs that foster better outcomes for youth.

The bill is supported by more than 130 organizations, including the NAACP, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, SEIU, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Drug Policy Alliance, ACLU, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, National Association of Social Workers, National Employment Law Project, National Organization for Women, Moms Rising, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National Juvenile Justice Network, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, and Cannabis Trade Federation.

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Education and Labor, Foreign Affairs, and Joint Economic Committees, where he is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the opioid epidemic, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research. 

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