The bill would allow states to decide marijuana legalization for themselves and expunge cannabis records for some.
A chamber of Congress will vote to remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substance for the first time in the nation’s history. The U.S. House of Representative confirmed its historic vote will occur next month and would effectively decriminalize cannabis nationwide.
The legislation in question, known as the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act (MORE Act), would not legalize marijuana at the federal level. Instead it would remove cannabis from its Schedule I drug classification, which the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) defines as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”
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Once removed, states could then decide whether to legalize cannabis for medical or recreational use. The bill would also expunge cannabis records for some and create a fund to support individuals impacted by the enforcement of marijuana laws.
“Passage of the MORE Act is essential in order to truly right the wrongs of federal marijuana criminalization, and to once and for all allow the majority of states that have legalized cannabis for either medical or adult-use to embrace these policies free from the threat of undue federal prosecution or interference,” said NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano.
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It’s unknown whether the MORE Act will have enough votes to carry the Democrat-controlled House. Even if it does, the Senate is not expected to vote on the bill considering the long-held opposition by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Republicans, who control the Senate, have not show support for ending cannabis prohibition in recent weeks. The head of the Republican National Committee would not answer whether medical marijuana supporters had a place in the GOP in a recent interview. And President Donald Trump told a Republican crowd earlier this month not to allow cannabis legalization ballot if they want to win.