It’s not an “April Fools” joke. The House on Friday voted to decriminalize cannabis on the federal level. This bill will also allow for the expungement of some (no all) marijuana convictions.
What this means: The legislation would completely change and reshape the U.S. drug policy. Including the decades-long war on drugs, and it follows in suit with states that have already legalized marijuana.
- This exact bill was passed by the house in 2020 but stalled in the then-Republican-controlled Senate.
Driving the news: The bill passed the House 220-204.
Details: The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act would remove cannabis from the list of scheduled substances, and mean that growing, selling or possessing the drug would not be a criminal offense.
- It would also create a process to expunge non-violent marijuana convictions and result in a review of criminal sentences.
- The bill would also allow the government to offer loans to cannabis businesses and impose a tax on cannabis products. This would provide revenue for programs to assist those “adversely impacted by the War on Drugs.”
What they’re saying: “There are so many discussions that have gone on over the years about the use of marijuana or cannabis or whatever,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday. “The fact is, it’s being used.”
The big picture: A Gallup poll in November of 2021 had 68% of Americans supporting full legalization of marijuana, up from 34% in 2001.
The other side: Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.) argued in a floor speech on Monday that the vote on cannabis legislationinstead of addressing inflation, gas prices or the national debt shows that Democrats are “out of touch.”
- “I guess the majority wants us to get as high as today’s gas prices and spend tax dollars on pot stores,” she said.
The next: An uphill battle in the Senate is expected, even though Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has championed marijuana legislation.