Centrist Democrats are pushing House Democratic leadership to pull legislation expected to reach the House floor next week that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.
The Democrats are expressing frustrations the bill is slated to come to come up for a vote before other pressing matters.
Specifically, a number of front-line members have raised concerns about the optics of holding a vote on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act before a coronavirus stimulus package and a government funding bill are passed.
Negotiators have struggled for months to strike a deal on additional coronavirus relief, with the parties remaining at an impasse over funding levels. Congress has until Sept. 30 to pass funding to avert a government shutdown.
“At a time when people are really struggling just to pay the bills and to get through this health crisis, [COVID relief] should be our priority,” said centrist Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.). He said he’s suggested to Democratic leaders that the marijuana bill is “probably something I would support but we should do it later on.”
Another member said colleagues have argued that “it’s not something that you can get passed into law,” so it shouldn’t be prioritized over more time-sensitive issues. [Read more at The Hill]