Bill Decriminalizing Marijuana Passes in U.S. House of Representatives

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The MORE Act passed in the House after a 220-204 vote. Though the bill had mostly Democratic support, three Republicans also voted in favor of the bill: Brian Mast (R-FL), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and Tom McClintock (R-CA). The bill would remove marijuana from the list of scheduled substances, allowing for growing, selling and possession of the now drug without these acts carrying a criminal penalty. In addition, the bill would create a new process that would allow individuals to have non-violent marijuana-related convictions expunged from their records and would setup a review of criminal sentences for offenders. Addressing another major issue of cannabis businesses, the bill would allow the government to offer loans to cannabis businesses and impose new taxes on cannabis products. The revenue from these new taxes could be used to fund programs designed to assist those who have been negatively “impacted by the War on Drugs.”

Though Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has expressed his own support for marijuana legislation reform, the bill is likely to face challenges in the Senate. The bill would need the support of both parties to pass. Also, President Biden has not shown support for the legalization of marijuana in the past. As recently as last month, President Biden proposed a ban on the legalization of recreational marijuana in D.C. as part of his $5.8 trillion 2023 budget.