GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCBD) – A lawmaker from the Lowcountry is calling on President Biden and both House and Senate leadership to decriminalize cannabis.

State Representative JA Moore (D-Berkeley) on Tuesday said he sent letters to President Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer encouraging them to make nationwide cannabis decriminalization a priority while Democrats control Congress and the White House.

“It will take federal action to move the ball on this issue,” Rep. Moore said in the letter. “We cannot let this moment pass and expect voters to have faith in our ability to lead.”

Rep. Moore said that while states like Colorado and Illinois have legalized marijuana, many Republican-controlled states, like South Carolina, are falling behind.

While it passed in the South Carolina Senate, extremely tight legislation that would make medical marijuana legal in South Carolina is being debated in the House. It’s unclear if it would have enough support to pass.

“For states like South Carolina, marijuana decriminalization is unlikely to occur at the state level for at least another decade,” Moore said. “That is the reality for many states where Republicans control the legislatures.”

Rep. Moore said marijuana prohibition has long been used as a way to target people of color and put Black men and women behind bars at disproportionate rates.

“Black people are arrested at a rate that is four times higher than their white counterparts, even though research has shown that marijuana use is similar among all Americans,” he said in the letter.

He believes laws prohibiting marijuana possession do not deter people from consuming it and said there is no evidence that decriminalization leads to increased marijuana use.

Last week, Moore filed a bill that would pardon 20% of South Carolinians who have been convicted of simple marijuana possession on April 20th of every year, calling it “420 Day.”

Meanwhile, SC Rep. Deon Tedder (D-Charleston) is pushing for a bill where the scent of marijuana alone would not provide law enforcement with reasonable suspicion or probable cause to support a stop, search, seizure, or arrest.