The House Just Passed A Bill That Decriminalizes Marijuana
The controversial marijuana legalization bill that has been long pending was passed by The House in historic voting last Friday.
The House of Representatives passed the much-debated bill on the legalization of cannabis under the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, or MORE Act, in the U.S.
The legislation bill was approved by 228-164 votes in the House supporting the legalization of Marijuana. This includes 5 votes from the Republican party joining the majority of the Democrats in support of the measure.
If approved by the Republican-led Senate, Cannabis would be removed from the Controlled Substances Act and would create an obstacle-free road for:
- Address the current banking and tax woes
- Strikeout some cannabis offenses
- Diversify the distribution efforts
“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. Public acceptance is at an all-time high. This is an idea whose time has come.” said co-sponsor of the MORE Act, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.
“For decades, discriminatory cannabis policies have perpetuated yet another form of systemic racism in America, and this legislation will begin the process of restorative justice for those most harmed,” said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., who co-sponsored the bill with Blumenauer.
Prior to the House Voting on Friday, Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz. said on Thursday that she “intended to vote against the MORE Act”.
“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.” Lesko was quoted saying.
As president-elect Joe Biden and California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris are in support of the decriminalization of Marijuana, the Republican-controlled Senate is planning on rejecting the bill.
“It’s an unserious bill that was voted on in an unserious manner and we rest easily knowing there is zero interest in moving this bill in the Senate and zero interest in supporting it in either the current administration or the incoming one,” Kevin Sabet, president and co-founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which opposes marijuana legalization.
Despite research suggesting that Marijuana can be addictive in the long term, some say that the drug needs to be tested, and more research is needed to understand the positive and negative side effects on human beings.
A spokesperson of the Democratic party stated, that in 2021, the Biden-led Senate plans to reschedule Marijuana as Schedule 2 Drugs.
If approved by the Senate, the legalization would help reduce the discrepancies between the state and federal governments. Marijuana is already legal for recreational and medicinal purposes in over 45 states.
However, drug experts say that “the bill has less than a snowball’s chance of passage in the Senate”.
“Any bill not signed into law by the time Congress adjourns on January 3 will have to be reintroduced, so that most likely will be the fate for the MORE Act or any other prominent cannabis-centric legislation”, said Jodi Avergun, a former US Drug Enforcement Administration chief of staff.
More updates to unfold soon.