Legalization | 04.28.2022

Bill To Federally Decriminalize Marijuana Is Expected To Pass

It's been decades since Reagan declared the war on drugs, and a new bill hopes to eliminate all that his presidential era has caused by finally decriminalizing marijuana at a federal level.

There’s some positive momentum in the House this week, with all signs pointing to a future where federally decriminalized marijuana isn’t just some far-fetched fantasy.

Congress is impressively shifting, once again, decades after Reagan declared the war on drugs which only brought more pain and strife to communities throughout the country.

The Bill That Could Change It All

According to The Hill, the House looks just about ready to pass legislation that would remove marijuana from its status as a controlled substance, federally decriminalizing the plant through and through.

Thankfully, the core motivation to introduce and discuss the bill stems from the decades of wrongful sentencing, disproportionately impacted communities, and the constantly-failing outcomes of the war on drugs and the turmoil it’s spread across the nation.

The Hill reports Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, explaining the need for reform, “This Congress represents a sea of change.”

Furthermore, Blumenauer added, “What we have seen is that the majority of people now realize that the war on drugs failed…Drugs are more accessible and cheaper and more potent and dangerous. Nobody won this war, except people who were involved with the drug dealers themselves.”

Most Democratic lawmakers are happily on board with the new bill, alongside Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.). Additional information has yet to be shared from lawmakers regarding the bill’s future and whether it’s expected to be approved.

The MORE Act Explained

Photo by
Erik Mclean / Pexels

Although the MORE Act stipulates that it would only decriminalize marijuana, this is a huge step forward if we ever want to reach federal legalization.

The MORE Act would decriminalize cannabis by removing it from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that using, possessing, growing, and distributing marijuana would no longer be a crime.

Some other details about the More ACT include the following;

  • Referring to the plant as cannabis instead of marijuana or marihuana
  • Creates a trust fund along with various programs to aid entrepreneurs and businesses located in communities most impacted by the war on drugs
  • Establishes a clear process to expunge records and hold sentence hearings regarding those incarcerated for cannabis crimes
  • Makes it illegal to deny someone federal public benefits based on past marijuana convictions
  • Makes it illegal to deny someone benefits and protections under immigration laws based on past marijuana convictions
  • Studies the societal impacts of marijuana
  • Offers Small Bussiness Administration loans and services
  • Establishes an excise tax on cannabis products and an occupational tax on marijuana facilities and export warehouses

Similar Progressive Measures

Congress’ stance on marijuana doesn’t stop at federal decriminalization but the other bits and pieces that would make the cannabis industry a safer, more equitable place.

More recently, reports say the Senate passed a bill last week to allow further in-depth scientific research on medical marijuana, its many cannabinoids, especially the anxiety and pain-relieving compound cannabidiol (CBD).

A couple of House votes throughout 2021 shed light on the dangers of operating such a profitable industry on a cash basis. According to The Hill, these measures were designed to allow cannabis businesses to utilize traditional banking services and credit cards, reducing the risk of break-ins.

Finally, cannabis arrests aren’t the only criminal convictions on Congress’ minds. Last fall, the House passed a bill to remove federal disparity in prison sentences for individuals charged with crack or cocaine offenses.

The Hill reports that the bill was likely to pass, considering it saw support from major law enforcement organizations like the Major Cities Chiefs Association and conservative groups like Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks.

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