House Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill With Racial Justice Provisions

On Friday, the House voted along party lines to end federal government Interdiction of Cannabis, and advancing a bill that seeks to address some of damage caused by drug police across the nation. Although the bill is unlikely in the Senate to pass, the House vote is a strong signal to President Joe Biden. gewählt Democrats — like much of the country — are ready to fully decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and repair some of the damage caused by the war on drugs.

After rejecting a Republican attempt to send the bill back, the House approved the legislation, which is known as the Marijuana Opportunity and Reinvestment Act (MORE) by a 220-204 vote. Along with three Republicans, the overwhelming support of the House Democrats was shown by the bill’s supporters. The House passed similar legislation in 2020 that stalled in the Senate, where Democrats must persuade at least 10 Republicans in order to avoid a filibuster and send the current bill to the president’s desk.

The legislation would allow for resentencing and expungement of people convicted for certain federal marijuana crimes. This is at a moment when people who are currently facing years in jail for cannabis use are speaking out. The legislation would also tax legal cannabis sales to fund economic programs in communities that have been affected by the drug war. It would also remove barriers to legal cannabis businesses being started in booming areas. currently dominatedBy white entrepreneurs.

If cannabis reform passes the Senate, Biden would have an historic opportunity to end the national prohibition on cannabis and allow states to create their own regulations. This would not be in violation of federal law. PollsIt was found that a majority voters support legalizing cannabis for years. Additionally, a poll by civil rights organizations last year found that 80% of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents believe the war against drugs has failed.

“This vote is a clear indicator that Congress is finally listening to the vast majority of voters who are sick and tired of our failed marijuana criminalization policies and the damage they continue to inflict in communities across the nation every day,” said Morgan Fox, director of the cannabis reform group NORML, in a statement Friday.

Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader is reportedlyExpected to introduce his own marijuana law later in the year, which could surpass the MORE Act. Any effort by Senate Democrats to legalize marijuana while they enjoy a slim majority in Congress — and rally voters to their side in upcoming midterm elections — would likely require compromise legislation supported by House Democrats and A few of these areRepublicans in the Senate

The MORE Act, however, is being passed by the House Democrats. The legislation is being championed in part by racial Justice activists, who warned lawmakers not to legalize marijuana without addressing the damages.ThatInterdictionHeavy policingIt has DoneBlack, Latino, or Indigenous communities.

Black people are almost four times more likely to be employed than whitessDespite similar marijuana use rates, it is more common for white people to be arrested than for marijuana possession. This disparity is twice the size in multiple states. As a result, report attachedAccording to the MORE Act, sentences for drug offenses imposed on Black men and Latinos are 13 percent and 6.5% longer than those imposed upon white men.

“Now, it’s up to the Senate to finish the job — it must begin to deliver on long overdue justice to end the status quo of racist and counterproductive enforcement,” said Maritza Perez, the national affairs director at the Drug Policy Alliance, in a statement. “With more than two-thirds of Americans in favor of reform, it should be a swift and easy choice.”

Democratic lawmakers and activists are pressuring Biden to take executive actions on cannabis regardless what Democrats do in Congress. Biden cannot unilaterally legalize cannabis. However, he could direct federal law enforcement not to prosecute marijuana charges and pardon thousands who have been convicted, many still in prison. Biden could also appoint federal officials who support decriminalization and direct them to key federal agencies.ToThe Congressional Research Service has provided guidance on how to begin the administrative process of ending federal marijuana prohibition.

Eighteen states have legalized and now regulate marijuanaFor recreational use by adults, many states allow cannabis to be used as a prescription medicine for a variety medical conditions. However, cannabis remains illegal under federal drug law, which “schedules” cannabis as a prohibited substance with no medical value. Drugs like MDMA and psilocybin mushroomWhich? They can now be used to treat PTSD and depression as well as other conditions.,These are also included in the marijuana schedule and remain the federal levelDespite growing evidence pointing to their existence, medical benefits.