Majority of Americans support top legalization bill


Thor Benson

A majority of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, support the top cannabis legalization bill in Congress. A new poll from Data for Progress and the Justice Collaborative Institute shows 59 percent of Americans support the MORE Act. The bill is supported by 70 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of Republicans. 

The MORE Act would legalize cannabis at the federal level, expunge cannabis-related criminal records and provide funding for communities harmed by the War on Drugs. The Democratic-controlled House planned to vote on the bill before the election but decided to delay the vote out of fear it could be a divisive issue. A press release from the Justice Collaborative Institute addresses this issue.

“The decision to push back a vote on the MORE Act not only calls Democrats’ prioritization of racial and criminal justice into question, but it also shows a complete disregard for the will of the majority of the American people who are ready for reform,” it says. “Failing to pass legislation decriminalizing marijuana use could be an electoral risk come November.”

Steven Hawkins, executive director at the Marijuana Policy Project, told Cannabis News Box that he’s not surprised by how much support the bill has considering legalization’s popularity in other polls.

“While legalization is more broadly supported by Democrats, it is not limited to one political ideology,” Hawkins said. “The last decade has shown an increase in the level of support among all Americans, including Republicans.”

Hawkins said it’s important to keep building bipartisan support for this issue. He said the timing of the vote doesn’t change the fact legalization continues to grow in popularity.

“The precise timing of a vote on the MORE Act does not change the fact that a majority of Americans support legalization,” Hawkins said. “Several states will decide on legalization in the upcoming election and this will add to the growing pressure on Congress to take action on legislation to end federal prohibition.”

It’s highly unlikely the MORE Act will make it through Congress before the election, but depending on the results of the election, it could happen next year. The bill is sponsored by vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris, so it seems likely it would have the support of the White House if Biden is elected in November. Biden has only come out in favor of decriminalizing cannabis, but if Congress passes this bill, he could very well end up signing it.