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The House of Representatives has approved a bill that would decriminalize marijuana. The bill also seeks to “address the devastating injustices caused by the War on Drugs.” The House passed this bill on Dec. 4, 2020.
This is the first time a chamber of Congress has voted on the decriminalization of marijuana on a federal level. Representative Justin Amash voted for the legislation along with five Republicans and 222 Democrats. Six Democrats and 158 Republicans voted against passing the bill.
Reasons Why the House Passed the Bill
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer — Maryland Democrat — stated that many people’s “lives have been upended as a result of convictions” due to minuscule amounts of marijuana. He added further that racial inequalities are shocking in these cases.
If the MORE Act is placed into effect it would remove marijuana off the Controlled Substances Act list. Once this is done marijuana possession will no longer be a criminal offense. Therefore those who attempt to distribute, manufacture, or possess marijuana will no longer face criminal penalties.
The MORE Act will also expunge previous marijuana convictions. This will include sentencing review hearings for all federal marijuana offenses.
This bill will also authorize a five percent sales tax on all marijuana products. The sales tax will be invested in services like legal aid, job training, and substance abuse treatment for people adversely affected by the war on drugs.
The sale tax will also provide funding for small business loans. It will also provide marijuana employment licensing for individuals who are economically disadvantaged.
Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell condemned the House for considering the MORE Act before dealing with a stimulus for COVID-19. McConnell even used sarcasm while speaking on the Senate floor.
People’s Views of the MORE Act
The House of Representatives is spending this week on pressing issues like marijuana. You know, serious and important legislation befitting this national crisis.
The MORE Act was first introduced to the House by Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler in July 2019. Before the House voted on the bill Nadler stated that he has “long believed that the criminalization of marijuana has been a mistake.”
President-elect Joe Biden supports the automatic expungement and decriminalization of marijuana to a point. According to a spokesperson for his campaign, Biden does not believe in the full legalization of cannabis. He thinks each State should be the ones to decide on legalizing marijuana.
Since 2012 many states have legalized cannabis. The House seems to be following people’s beliefs in passing the MORE Act.
Written by Sheena Robertson
CNN: House passes bill decriminalizing marijuana at federal level by Veronica Stracqualursi and Lauren Dezenski
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