House Of Representative Votes 228-164 To Legalize Marijuana
The House on Friday passed a bill that would decriminalize marijuana, as public support for marijuana legalization has climbed to nearly 70%.
In a 228-164 vote, the House approved the MORE Act, which would remove marijuana rom the Controlled Substances Act and eliminate federal penalties for growing, selling or possessing the drug. It would also expunge federal convictions for marijuana-related offenses.
The MORE Act would create a new federal tax rate of 5% on marijuana products, which would incrementally rise to 8%.
Five Republicans joined the Democratic majority: Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida), Brian Mast (R-Florida), Tom McClintock (R-California), Denver Riggleman (R-Virginia) and Don Young (R-Alaska).
The Democrats who voted against the bill were Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-Illinois), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Conor Lamb (D-Pennsylvania), Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois), Chris Pappas (D-New Hampshire) and Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota).
Several states have approved recreational marijuana usage, with some joining in this past election cycle. Currently, it is legal in Alaska; Arizona; California; Colorado; Illinois; Maine; Massachusetts; Michigan; Montana; Nevada; New Jersey; Oregon; South Dakota; Vermont and Washington. Washington, D.C., Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands have similarly legalized marijuana.
The bill is expected to fail in the Republican-led Senate, particularly as GOP lawmakers have criticized Democrats for seemingly prioritizing marijuana legalization over COVID-19 relief.
The bill is sponsored by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the Senate, who formerly convicted nearly 2000 people for marijuana-related charges while serving as District Attorney in San Francisco. She has since stated her support for the legalization of the drug, but many of those she convicted — as well as others serving time for marijuana offenses — have remained in prison despite the drug being legalized in the state they were convicted in, such as California.