The House is voting to legalize the weed

Friday’s vote reflects a change in U.S. and global views on marijuana over the past decade: polls show support for legalization has risen 20 percentage points to 68 percent since Colorado and Washington states legalized weeds in 2012. state where marijuana is legal for adults. Red states, including Mississippi and South Dakota, voted to allow medical or recreational marijuana on election day. The UN voted in favor of treaty restrictions on marijuana earlier this week.

The bill also adopts the foundations for future marijuana legalization policy: to address criminal justice reform and racial inequality. There were approximately 663,000 marijuana-related arrests in the United States in 2018 – about 43 percent of all drug arrests. According to an ACLU study in April, black people are almost four times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than whites, despite the fact that both groups are equally likely to use marijuana.

The house management promised lawyers and advanced in 2019 that a The vote on an industry-focused bill to expand access to banking for cannabis businesses will be followed by a broader bill to address the illegal consequences of marijuana for decades.

MORE OF THE LAWS is this bill: It would abolish federal criminal sanctions for marijuana, delete nonviolent federal marijuana criminal records, provide money to states to step up laws to scrap marijuana criminal records, and create support programs in the Nixon era.

“What we’re doing here is … recognizing that the Nixon administration has been at war for civil rights for a long time,” said MP Jerry Nadler (DN.Y.), a supporter of the bill and president of the House. Committee on Legal Affairs. – And we’ll eliminate it.

MULTIPLE law was first introduced in the summer of 2019 and moved out of the House Judiciary Committee last November. Then came the police murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd this year. AP vote by June 2020 found that 94 percent of Americans believed the nation’s criminal justice system needed at least some change.

“The smartest thing that has been done to facilitate legalization has been to bring issues of criminal justice and racial justice to the forefront of the cannabis debate,” said John Hudak, an expert in cannabis policy at the Brookings Institution.

Racial justice has always motivated legalization in some arenas. But lawmakers have traditionally paired it with arguments about health care for children and veterans, job creation, and increased tax revenues. Recently, lawmakers have changed their tone to emphasize the criminal justice aspects of legalization.

“When people ask me,‘ What is systemic racism? “I’m pointing out the country’s drug laws,” Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), President of the House Rules, said this week. “People’s lives were ruined by possession of only small amounts of cannabis.”

However, a lot of legislators failed to sway. The planned vote on the MORE Act in September was missed because the moderates feared that voting on the weeds without adopting another coronavirus aid package would hurt them on election day. Republicans, including Kevin McCarthy, the House’s minority leader, and Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, threatened democracies this week because they voted on their stomachs while Covid’s aid bill remains in balance.

“You might think that at this year’s urn, where Democrats didn’t beat one Republican official, after a humiliating defeat, Democrats get a picture of Americans demanding action on issues that matter to them,” McCarthy told the press conference Thursday.

Prior to the vote, Republicans, including Arizona MP Debbie Lesko, said removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act would jeopardize safety at work. Others noted that there is no research on the health effects of cannabis and suggested that marijuana be reclassified under federal law in a way that facilitates research but still limits its use.

– We all agree on that [marijuana] it does not fall on the same place on the agenda as cocaine as heroin as these other highly addictive drugs, ”said MP Ben Cline (R-Va.). “I think he would get a lot more bipartisan support for the measure if he went in that direction.”

When Republicans raised the lack of regulations on meals or steaming in the bill at a House Rules committee hearing this week, MP Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said regulating the new industry wasn’t the point.

“This bill decriminalizes ownership and distribution at the federal level – these are the simple points,” Jackson Lee said. “Let me be clear that we wanted to get justice for thousands of prisoners and [who] they were cut off from the basic dignity of the home, from scholarships, and from others. And I think we answered in this bill.

As a key part of criminal justice reform, a democratic strategy to intertwine changes in federal marijuana laws is also sending a message to President-elect Joe Biden. He says people should not be arrested for drug use, but does not support legalization.

“We know the White House will be coming out next year and will focus on the three C’s: Covid, climate change, and criminal justice reform,” said David Culver, a lobbyist for cannabis company Canopy Growth. “I think that’s why they focus so much on it – because they feel it’s a very key part of their platform, Biden’s first cycle.”

Elected Vice President Kamala Harris is a major supporter of the MORE Act in the Senate, and one of the differences between him and Biden is their position on legalizing marijuana.

While anti-legalization advocates see Biden’s position as a victory, the weed-friendly crowd hopes Harris will fight for their issue if the White House acts on criminal justice reform.

No one expects the relocation in the House to shake the Republican-led Senate’s inaction against marijuana. McConnell said he won’t consider comprehensive marijuana legislation, and if Republicans retain control after the Georgia Senate goes down, it seems unlikely that MORE laws will be raised in the Senate.