US Congress to Vote on Federal Cannabis Decriminalization in December

The U.S. House of Representatives is slated to vote on legislation that would decriminalize — not legalize — marijuana this coming December.

By Roland T. Flackfizer

Last week, House Majority Leader, Democrat, Steny H. Hoyer published an update on the status of impending House bills which stated he expects a vote on a federal cannabis decriminalization bill to come next month.

The bill titled the ‘Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019 – (MORE)’ is sponsored by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the Senate and Rep. Jerrold Nadler in the House.

The proposed legislation calls for cannabis to be removed from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act. Federal penalties for people who grow, distribute, or possess cannabis would be ended.

The MORE bill would levy a 5% tax on cannabis products that would be diverted to social programs via communities impacted by the failed war on drugs. If passed, the legislation would expunge convictions related to federal cannabis offenses nationwide.

The House bill has 118 co-sponsors from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is distributing a message form for supporters to urge their congressional representative to vote in favor of the legislation. The ACLU has long held that racial disparities in marijuana arrest rates exacerbate police violence and inequality in the criminal justice system.

Though marijuana legalization is overwhelmingly supported by the vast majority of U.S. citizens, the political road to even decriminalization is fraught with pitfalls. First and foremost, a GOP controlled Senate is likely to vote against the measure. 

Many cannabis advocates and activists do not wish to see federal legalization as it could entail regulation of the plant by the same FDA and ATF responsible for pharmaceutical drugs and tobacco; respectively. Meanwhile, Mexico is on it’s way to federal legalization.

Smoke em’ if you got em’.

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