by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director September 18, 2019

Today, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), the Assistant Speaker of the House cosponsored the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, HR 3884, which would end the prohibition of marijuana and creates a pathway for states to implement their own reforms, and introduced legislation, the Remove Marijuana from Deportable Offenses Act to end the practice of deporting immigrants for cannabis-related offenses.

Upon introduction, Assistant Speaker Lujan said “The Trump administration’s decision to use marijuana as a weapon against our immigrant communities is despicable. The federal government should not be wasting resources to wreak havoc on immigrant families when there are children held in border camps that are desperate for legal services, hygiene products, and basic humanitarian care. Providing care for these children and families should be where the Trump administration devotes its funding – not working as a deportation force.”

11 states and Washington DC have legalized marijuana for adult-use, and dozens more have passed laws decriminalizing its possession and use. Despite this, federal law enforcement continues to use minor marijuana-related infractions as justification to deport otherwise law-abiding immigrants and their families.

“The status quo of marijuana criminalization is irrational and discriminatory towards tens of thousands of otherwise law-abiding aspiring Americans who pose no safety risk to the United States. Public opinion and policy surrounding cannabis are rapidly shifting, which is why we must ensure that those who strive to achieve the American Dream are treated with dignity,” said Justin Strekal, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Political Director.

By cosponsoring the MORE Act, Assistant Speaker Lujan becomes the most senior member of the House of Representatives to endorse legislation to end federal marijuana criminalization.