LOS ANGELES CA, November, 22 ( Dr Cyberspace ) — by Robert Bishop — History was made this week after the house passes legislation legalizing marijuana. The first step in legalizing marijuana across America was taken on Wednesday when the House Judiciary Committee passed the MORE Act.
The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act passed by a 24-10 vote. It was the first time in history that a congressional committee had approved a bill ending the federal prohibition of marijuana.
The MORE Act was introduced by Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and would remove marijuana as a schedule 1 drug. In fact, the bill would completely remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, making it legal.
The American Civil Liberties Union reports that marijuana offenses account for over half of all drug arrests in America. The new marijuana legislation would allow the expungement of arrest records for those convicted of violating federal cannabis laws.
The bill would also allow Veterans Administration doctors to prescribe medical marijuana, provided they abide by state-legal cannabis laws. Finally, the bill would impose a five percent tax on legal marijuana sales.
Revenue from marijuana taxes would be reinvested in communities that were adversely affected by the long-running war on drugs.
“These steps are long overdue. For far too long we’ve treated marijuana as a criminal justice problem instead of a matter of personal choice and public health,” said Congressman Nadler. “Arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating people at the federal level is unwise and unjust.”
“I’ve long believed that the criminalization of marijuana has been a mistake,” said Nadler. “The racially disparate enforcement of marijuana laws has only compounded this mistake with serious consequences, particularly for minority communities.”
The MORE Act Follows Closely On The Heels Of The SAFE Banking Act
While Republican lawmakers argued for additional hearings before voting, Democratic members responded that there’s been sufficient debate. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), called the legislation the “biggest marijuana news of the year.”
“The passage of the MORE Act represents the first time that the Judiciary Committee has ever had a successful vote to end the cruel policy of marijuana criminalization,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “Not only does the bill reverse the failed prohibition of cannabis, but it provides pathways for opportunity and ownership in the emerging industry for those who have suffered most.”
The committee vote comes two months after the House passed the SAFE Banking Act (article explaining the SAFE Banking Act) The SAFE Banking Act allows banks to service state-legal cannabis businesses and protects them from penalties imposed by federal regulators.
The MORE Act is expected to do well when it reaches the full House floor for a vote. It is not known how the legislation will fare in the Senate. That is if Senator McConnell allows a vote on the bill.
The Pew Research Center found in a recent poll that 67% of Americans believe that marijuana use should be legal. Subscribe to Dr Cyberspace for the latest in hemp news, cannabis cultivation and rapidly changing cannabis laws — straight to your inbox.
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