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The House passed a bill that would legalize marijuana on a federal level nationwide on April 1, 2022. This legislation would eliminate criminal penalties for anyone who distributes, possesses, or manufactures cannabis.
The bill passed by a 220-204 vote. Republicans Brian Mast and Matt Gaetz of Florida and Tom McClintock voted in favor to legalize marijuana. Democrats Henry Cueller of Texas and Chris Pappas of New Hampshire voted against the bill.
Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act passed in the House last year. However, it did not make any headway in the Senate.
The More Act also wants to change:
- The statutory references to marijuana and cannabis.
- Require the Bureau of Labor Statistics to regularly publish demographic data on cannabis business owners and employees.
- Prohibit the denial of benefits and protections under immigration laws on the basis of a cannabis-related event.
- Establish a trust fund to support various programs and services for individuals and businesses in communities impacted by the war on drugs.
- Impose an excise tax on cannabis products produced in or imported into the United States and an occupational tax on cannabis production facilities and export warehouses.
- Create Small Business Administration loans and services available to entities that are cannabis-related legitimate businesses or service providers.
- Prohibit the denial of federal public benefits to a person on the basis of certain cannabis-related conduct or convictions.
- Direct the Government Accountability Office to study the societal impact of cannabis legalization.
- Establish a process to expunge convictions and conduct sentencing review hearings related to federal cannabis offenses.
The taxation of cannabis will begin at 5% once it has become legal. It will eventually increase to 8%. The funds raised through the cannabis tax would go towards providing job training, mentoring, legal aid, re-entry services, youth recreation programs, and substance abuse treatment.
California Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, said the marijuana bill “is one of the most important criminal justice reform bills in recent history.”
Many people are hopeful the bill will make it through the Senate, including several advocacy groups.
Written by Sheena Robertson
NBC News: House passes landmark marijuana legalization bill; by Rebecca Shabad
Congress: H.R.3884 – MORE Act of 2020
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Inline Image Courtesy of Elsa Olofsson’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License