WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCBD) – Representative Nancy Mace (R-SC) on Friday voted by proxy against HR-3617, the bill passed by the United States House of Representatives to legalize marijuana.
The MORE Act “removes marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act and eliminates criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana.” The bill passed the house 220 to 204 with only three Republican votes. It is now in the hands of the Senate.
Mace’s vote against the bill is in contrast to the pro-legalization stance she has touted. She has both introduced and co-sponsored past legislation seeking to legalize marijuana, citing its medicinal benefits. She spoke earlier this month at a panel titled “Post Pot Legalization: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” at the South by Southwest convention in Austin, Texas.
In a statement to News 2, Mace said that she opposed the bill because it puts too much power in the hands of the federal government. The bill she introduced would give states the option to choose whether or not to legalize marijuana.
Using South Carolina as an example, Mace explained that “the state legislature is moving towards passage of the Compassionate Care Act, a bill to allow medical cannabis to treat those in dire need. [The MORE Act] would override that and use the heavy hand of the federal government to revoke sovereignty of our state.”
Mace said that she hopes to work towards ” a real solution” that benefits all states.
While Mace voted against the bill overall, she voted in favor of three amendments proposed during the process: the first was an amendment on driving under the influence of marijuana, the second was an amendment requiring study on marijuana’s impact in the workplace, and the third was an amendment on security clearance and marijuana use. Mace also voted in favor of sending the bill back to the subcommittee for further revision.
One of Mace’s challengers for the SC-01 spot, Katie Arrington, put out a statement condemning Mace, saying in part “Nancy Mace likes to talk a big game about getting things done, but when it came to legalizing marijuana, the issue that has been the hallmark of her political career, she flip-flopped on her position.” Arrington went on to say that the Lowcountry “cannot afford another term of [Mace’s] self-serving leadership.”
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include a statement from Mace.