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420 with CNW — Congress Passes Bill Decriminalizing Marijuana

After decades of prohibition and harsh anti-cannabis policing, the House of Representatives has passed landmark legislation that would decriminalize cannabis federally. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which was introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler last July, seeks to repair some of the damage caused by the decades-long war on drugs. The bill would delete marijuana from the Schedule I Class of controlled substances in addition to expunging the records of those with prior nonviolent, cannabis-linked convictions.

In the House, the bill ultimately passed along party lines, with 222 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and one Libertarian voting in its favor, and 159 Republicans and 6 Democrats voting against it. This is the first time in history either chamber of Congress has voted in favor of cannabis legalization.

Despite its passage in the House, the MORE Act is not expected to pass in the Republican-controlled Senate. Senate Republicans spent the days leading up to the vote criticizing the Democrats for bringing the bill to the floor in the midst of a pandemic and an economic crisis.

According to Nadler, the legislation is long overdue. The war on drugs has long been recognized as a failure, with communities of color taking the brunt of aggressive anti-marijuana policies. A report from the American Civil Liberties Union passed this year says that despite relatively similar usage rates, African Americans have a 3.6 higher chance of being booked for cannabis offenses compared to their Caucasian counterparts.

The bill aims to correct this inequality, which has left America with the largest prison population in the world. During his speech prior to the vote, Democratic House member Hakeem Jeffries revealed that he hopes the MORE Act will reduce America’s immense prison population, which he calls a “stain” on the country’s democracy. House Majority Leader and Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer concurs, stating that convictions for the possession of small amounts of marijuana have ruined millions of Americans’ lives.

If signed into law, the MORE Act would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and authorize a 5% tax on marijuana sales. The revenue would be used to fund public services such as legal aid, job training and substance abuse treatment for people adversely impacted by the war on drugs as well as to provide grants to low-income and minority-led businesses in the cannabis industry. Department of Veteran Affairs physicians will also be allowed to recommend medical cannabis to patients without fear of federal repercussions.

As the reform movement attempts to make inroads at the federal level, several states have already established legal marijuana markets with plenty of companies thriving. One such company is Gage Cannabis Co. which already has nearly 13 licensed outlets for regulated cannabis products in Michigan.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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