House will hold a historic vote on federal decriminalization of marijuana

On Friday, the first such vote will take place at the federal level.

The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Evacuation Act would also provide for a reassessment of previous marijuana convictions, invest in services for people caught in the drug war, and open up funding for the Small Business Directorate to cannabis-related businesses.

Despite widespread support for Democrats in the House of Representatives, the bill has almost no chance of becoming lawful at the current session of Congress because of the Republican firewall in the Senate and President Donald Trump, who still occupies the White House. Biden campaigned for the decriminalization of marijuana.

But even after the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden in January, Democrats would have to hand over the measure again and clarify it through the Senate as well. Majority control in the upper house is still in place – two run-down elections are scheduled for Georgia early next month – but the 60-vote threshold would apply to the legislature to move through the Senate and before the Resolute Desk.

Although the measure has garnered dust since it passed the House Judiciary Committee last November, the planned vote more than a year later will allow many Democrats to celebrate the promise of passing the bill before the end of the current session of Congress.

Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, one of the original supporters of the bill, led the House’s Thursday debate on the measure and wore a face mask with cannabis leaves.

In the corridor, Republicans continued to criticize democratic priorities amid an epidemic when basic time is limited and valued by lawmakers — both Democrats and Republicans.

“Democrats want to focus on cannabis and cats, not COVID mitigation,” Kevin McCarthy, the California House’s minority leader, told reporters at Thursday’s press conference at the Capitol. “You might think that in this year’s urns, where Democrats did not defeat one of the Republican officials, after a humiliating defeat, Democrats will get an idea that Americans are demanding action on issues that are important to them.”

While the stalemate in the next phase of COVID-19 assistance persists, legislators have still not come together on other mandatory legislation on the agenda that requires bilateral cooperation, including an agreement on government financing. Congress has only five legislative days left on the road ahead of a possible government shutdown on December 11th.

Nonetheless, Jim McGovern, chairman of the House Rules Committee, called on lawmakers to “take a stand” on restorative justice, stand up to racial justice, stand up for criminal justice reform, and stand up to the majority of Americans who demand cannabis in our nation. policy reforms. “

“Some, especially on the other side, have wondered why we are moving forward with these reforms now. We will soon have to fund the government for the next fiscal year and pass the annual defense bill. Said McGovern, D-Mass. “We have a lot to do in the waning days of Congress. I understand. But the answer is simple: It’s not one or the same item. Congress can walk and chew gum at the same time. “