A key marijuana legalization bill has returned to Congress. In the House of Representatives on Friday, Rep. Jerry Nadler, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, reintroduced the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment & Expungement Act (or MORE Act for short). If passed into law, this bill would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, decriminalizing it on the federal level.

Nadler, a Democrat, wrote in a statement: "Since I introduced the MORE Act last Congress, numerous states across the nation, including my home state of New York, have moved to legalize marijuana. Our federal laws must keep up with this pace."

Paper ballot under bowl of cannabis flowers.

Image source: Getty Images.

The MORE Act was passed in the House in December, but was not taken up for a vote in the Senate. Since that previous Congress was replaced, the bill must be formally reintroduced, hence Nadler's latest move.

While the House, still Democratic-controlled, is more than likely to pass the bill again, it probably doesn't have much of a chance in the Senate. For the most part, Republicans have been reluctant to vote in favor of any marijuana reform measures, and with a 50/50 split in the chamber, they can use the power of the filibuster to block any decriminalization bill.

Still, the return of the MORE Act is yet another reminder that marijuana legalization is a popular cause among the general U.S. population, and enjoys political support from Congressional Democrats, at least. 

In the wake of Nadler's move, shares of Canadian marijuana stocks generally went up; this could be due to hopes for a vast new market opening up for them, since they cannot directly sell cannabis in the country under the present legal regime. For example, Canopy Growth (CGC 0.77%), a bellwether north-of-our-border weedie, was up by 3.5% in late afternoon trading on Friday, outpacing the S&P 500's 0.3% rise.