U.S. House Approves Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana at Federal Level
In a historic measure, the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to decriminalize and tax marijuana at the federal level.
According to NBC News, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE) would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act, which would clear the way for people to have federal marijuana convictions expunged from their records.
The MORE Act will allow access to medicinal marijuana to veterans as Veterans Affairs doctors would be able to prescribe it. The Act will also create ownership opportunities in the cannabis industry and establishes funds to reinvest in communities that have been hit hard by the war on drugs.
The vote marks the first time that decriminalization of marijuana has been addressed by the full chamber of Congress. In all, 222 Democrats voted in favor of the MORE act, while six were opposed. On the Republican side of the House, five were in favor of the act with 158 voting against it.
Co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., had this to say prior to the vote:
It is the right thing to do. For too long, the war on drugs has targeted young people, especially Black people, and rejected the advice of experts.
Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., believes the bill is bad policy:
Not only is this a dereliction of duty, the bill is simply bad policy. It does nothing to deter the use of marijuana by children, fails to require a warning label on the health risks posed by marijuana, and disregards science that shows marijuana directly affects parts of the brain responsible for memory and learning.
The MORE Act isn’t expected to be approved by the Senate.