Marijuana Legalization Bill Approved By Congressional Committee In Historic Vote
For the first time in history, a congressional committee has approved a bill to end federal marijuana prohibition. The House Judiciary Committee passed the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act in a 24-10 vote on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, setting the stage for a full floor vote. The vote saw two Republicans — Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Tom McClintock (R-CA) — join their Democratic colleagues in support of the bill. Debate on the bill generally followed two tracks: Republican lawmakers argued that the bill was being rushed and that it should be subject to additional hearings. Democratic members responded that there’s been enough debate on the issue and that there’s no time for delay in beginning to reverse decades of harms of prohibition enforcement. On the other hand, some GOP members who recognized that the status quo is untenable pushed for legislative action on a separate piece of bipartisan cannabis legislation — the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act — which does not contain social equity elements or formally remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and would simply leave cannabis policy up to the states, arguing that a scaled-down approach would fare better in…
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