US House Will Vote on Legalizing Cannabis
by Dan Larkin.
The US House of Representatives will vote on legalizing cannabis. This is a big deal. Why? Well, this is the first time that a House bill has made it out of a committee vote. The legislation, which passed 24 to 10, is expected to be approved by the full House, where Democrats control the chamber with 234 seats.
What is this bill that will legalize cannabis?
This bill, called the MORE Act ( Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act), would remove cannabis from the list of Schedule 1 drugs. The FDA uses the Schedule 1 classification for drugs that they deem to have no medicinal value and have a high potential for abuse. I think we can all agree that that designation has always been B.S. To be clear, this bill would completely remove cannabis from the list. Not just reduce it to a Schedule 2 or 4 or whatever.
The bill, as its name suggests, also would expunge (wipeout) prior convictions for marijuana offenses. That’s an important social justice component of the bill that has already been addressed in some states where cannabis has been decriminalized. The federal law would actually offer incentives to states to expunge those arrest records.
“The criminalization of marijuana has been a mistake. The racial disparity in marijuana enforcement laws only compounded this mistake with serious consequences, particularly for minority communities.”Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.
A 5% sales tax at the federal level would provide funding for jobs programs and training for those hit hardest by the failed “war on drugs”.
What can we do to help legalize cannabis?
So, obviously, this is good news, but the work for supporters of legal cannabis is far from over. It’s important to begin work immediately to convince U.S. Senators to vote for this bill when it comes to them. (This is assuming it passes the House, of course.)
As things stand right now, the bill faces opposition from Senate Republicans. Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell is on the record opposing legalization. But, maybe he and others can be convinced that now is the time. A CBS News poll in April, found 65% of Americans think cannabis should be legal. So, if you’re part of that group. Now is your time to contact your Senators.
Look, this really is a big deal. I know we’ve seen headlines in the past that offered hope and then fizzled. But, this one has a real chance of actually become the law of the land. It can happen. Legalizing cannabis isn’t easy but it will happen, eventually. It takes work, though. Will you do your part?
Read more CannabisIRL.com stories about legalizing cannabis here.