Lawmakers And Advocates React To Federal Marijuana Legalization Bill’s House Passage

MJ moment

The House on Friday passed a historic bill to federally legalize marijuana, eliciting cheers from pro-reform lawmakers and advocates, and scorn from opponents. Perhaps no member is more elated than Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), a longtime advocate who has pushed hard to get his colleagues on board and advance legalization. He said during a press briefing following the vote that the bill is “going to make a huge difference for people all across America as Congress starts to catch up to where the American public is.” “There’s a whole range of things that the MORE Act fixopes,” he said. “But most important is it stops this failed war on drugs that is so unfair to Americans of color, particularly black and brown. It will stop the federal interference with research. It’ll allow this emerging market to thrive, make it possible for more people to participate and be able to get on with their lives.” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), another Congressional Cannabis Caucus co-chair, also participated in the presser and said this “really is a moment for racial justice.” “We know that this year has put inequality and systemic racism to the forefront of our attention, and there’s no better way to close out this year than to really begin to atone for the destructive policies brought on by the failed war on drugs,” she said. The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which cleared the chamber in a decisive 228-164 vote, would federally deschedule marijuana and allow people with prior cannabis convictions to have their records expunged. Descheduling would be retroactive. It also contain provisions to tax cannabis and use the revenue to fund programs to aid people harmed by the war on drugs. But its chances of becoming law this session are low, as the Republican-controlled Senate isn’t…

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