United States lawmakers approve legislation legalising marijuana
The United States House of Representatives on Friday passed legislation eliminating criminal penalties on the manufacturing, distribution and possession of marijuana.
The Marijuana Opportunity Re-investment and Expungement Act (MORE) passed a House vote 220-204 with two Democrats and three Republicans opposing. It now heads to the Senate, Majority Leader of the Senate Chuck Schumer (D-New York) also promised to introduce his own version of a marijuana legalisation bill by the end of April.
“This landmark legislation is one of the most important criminal justice reform bills in recent history,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said before Friday’s vote.
If Congress passes the MORE Act it then goes to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign into the Federal statute books. its provisions make marijuana legal in all 50 states, an initial federal tax of 5% then climbing to 8% over time. The tax revenues will go towards funding job training and substance abuse treatment. The legislation also wipes clean the records of marijuana offenders.
Representative Barbara Lee (D-California) told the House that the MORE Act is “racial justice” citing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reports which estimates that African Americans were four times likely to be busted for marijuana related offences.
“This is truly unjust, so we must end this failed policy of marijuana prohibition, which has led to the shattering of so many lives, primarily black and brown people.” she said.
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