House Votes to Decriminalize Marijuana At Last
Last Friday, the House passed a crucial bill that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. Not only that, but past convictions are also to be expunged.
For the first time in history, the House has voted to remove cannabis from the Federal Controlled Substances Act; not something many believed possible.
Naturally, democrats were more in favor of passing the bill, with only 6 of them voting against it. Republicans, on the other hand, largely voted against the bill, with only 5 exceptions. Thus, the final tally was 228–164 in favor of the bill.
With the possible decriminalization on a federal level, experts expect to see a boost in the legal marijuana business. Likewise, people of color, who have been the main victims of the war on drugs, will benefit from this bill the most.
Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, stated that the focus should be more on COVID-19 relief in place of issues such as marijuana. In contrast, Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, believes that this legislation is essential for addressing “inequities in criminal justice, business, and more.”
Also, according to Earl Blumenauer and Barbara Lee, co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, the bill is a “critical issue of racial justice.” Blumenauer even goes on to say that this legislation can potentially save young Black and Brown lives.
The legislation would include expungement of marijuana arrests and convictions and resentencing Americans once the judicial review process is done. For these reasons, possession of marijuana would no longer be a reason for deportation.
All of this concurs with recent trends in the US concerning cannabis — more and more states are legalizing it for both recreational and medical use, and there are no signs of it slowing down anytime soon!