Pappas one of six Democratic ‘no’ votes on marijuana decriminalization proposal

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Congressman Chris Pappas in Merrimack. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

WASHINGTON – On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, with Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) providing one of just six “no” votes in the Democratic caucus.

The bill passed 228-164, with all but five of 163 Republicans voting against the bill.

In short, the bill would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances list and clears the way to erase non-violent federal marijuana convictions and assist the cannabis-growing industry.

Pappas says he supports several parts of the MORE Act, including de-scheduling marijuana at the federal level and empowering states to determine their own policies that make sense for them. However, he also believes that more deliberation is needed and COVID-19 relief is more pressing.

“I have serious concerns about the many unanswered questions that I have heard from local public health and safety experts in my state about expunging certain federal drug convictions and implementing aspects of this legislation. I feel we should not rush this bill through when Congress has yet to act on a COVID-19 relief package that is so badly needed as Americans continue to face a global pandemic and an economic crisis,” said Pappas. “Ensuring fairness in our justice system and keeping our communities safe are not mutually exclusive. We can and must do both, and I’m hopeful this issue can be addressed through the legislative process next term.”

Pappas added that he believes Congress and the incoming Biden administration can address issues within the MORE Act in a through and bipartisan fashion with input from local leaders and stakeholders next year.

He also added that Congress should not adjourn until a new COVID-19 relief package is passed.

Earlier this week, Pappas praised a bi-partisan framework for a proposed COVID-19 relief plan.