US House Approves Cannabis Decriminalization Bill

US House Approves Cannabis Decriminalization Bill
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On April 1, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to decriminalize cannabis on the federal level with the passage of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. Lawmakers approved the legislation with a 220-204 vote, passed largely along party lines by the House’s Democratic majority. “This landmark legislation is one of the most important criminal justice reform bills in recent history: delivering justice for those harmed by the brutal, unfair consequences of criminalization; opening the doors of opportunity for all to participate in this rapidly growing industry; and decriminalizing cannabis at the federal level so we do not repeat the grave mistakes of our past,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said on the House floor before the vote. The MORE Act would effectively decriminalize cannabis at the federal level by removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. The bill, H.R. 3617, also includes provisions for the expungement of federal cannabis convictions. Additionally, the measure establishes a federal tax on retail cannabis sales, with revenue raised by the tax invested in communities that were harmed under federal cannabis prohibition policies. The tax would initially be set at 5% and gradually increase to 8% over time. Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler, the sponsor of the legislation, said on Friday that the legislation “would set a new path forward and would begin to correct some of the injustices of the last 50 years.” “Whatever one’s views are on the use of marijuana for recreational or medicinal use, the policy of arrests, prosecution and incarceration at the federal level has proven both unwise and unjust,” Nadler said. Broad Support for Cannabis Reform A Pew Research poll conducted last year showed that 91% of Americans support cannabis legalization for medical purposes, while 18 states have now legalized adult-use marijuana. The MORE Act enjoys broad support from cannabis reform advocates who praise the…

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