House Passes Legislation to Legalize Marijuana Nationwide
Earlier today the House passed legislation to legalize marijuana nationwide and eliminate criminal penalties for anyone who possesses, manufactures, or distributes marijuana.
According to NBC News, lawmakers approved the legislation 220-204 mostly along party lines.
The only three Republicans who voted in favor of the measure were Tom McClintock of California, Brian Mast, and Matt Gaetz of Florida, but two Democrats opposed it, Henry Cuellar from south Texas, and Chris Pappas of New Hampshire.
The official name of the legislation is the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act and it passed the House last year but never made it to the Senate.
The bill would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and establish procedures for expunging people of their criminal records for marijuana-related convictions no matter how long it has been since the conviction.
The bill would also impose a tax on any kind of cannabis-related products starting at 5% and eventually increasing to 8%.
Funding raised through the tax would go into a fund that would provide job training, mentoring, substance-use treatment, legal aid, re-entry services, and youth recreation programs as well as help fund small businesses in the cannabis industry.
So anyone that has been convicted of marijuana possession or distribution would have that expunged from their record and people that are still in jail will have their sentences ended.
“To this day, people across the country are still experiencing the damaging effects of the war on cannabis, while others are profiting in the industry,” said Toi Hutchinson, president and CEO of the Marijuana Policy Project. “Following today’s action in the House, it is now time for the U.S. Senate to follow suit and take up the MORE Act.”
The bill passing in the Senate is not expected since there will need to be 60 votes for it to pass and 10 Republicans are not expected to vote for the action.