America Is One Step Closer To Federally Legalizing Marijuana
Despite majority support in the House, the bill is likely to die in the Senate.
The House Judiciary Committee passed three important provisions Wednesday in the fight to federally legalize marijuana. The MORE Act includes record expungement and reinvestment in the communities most harmed by the War on Drugs, as well as the removal of marijuana possession from the list of deportable offenses.
The legislation passed through Committee with a 24-10 vote and will likely be successful in its journey through the full House of Representatives.
"The criminalization of marijuana has been a mistake,” Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler said during the markup of the bill, according to CNBC. “The racial disparity in marijuana enforcement laws only compounded this mistake with serious consequences, particularly for minority communities.”
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Sen. Cory Booker, who offered his previous legislation as the groundwork for the provisions that passed in the House, issued a hopeful statement, saying the issue has the potential to push through partisan gridlock.
"These draconian laws have sacrificed critical resources, violated our values, destroyed families and communities and failed to make us safer,” Booker said in a statement sent to Blavity. “This legislation continues us down the path towards justice, and I’m excited to see momentum growing around the movement to fix our nation’s broken drug laws.”
Despite the hopeful messaging, those with more insider knowledge do not expect the bill to be able to garner enough support in the Senate to reach the president's desk.
“I don’t think a majority of the Republicans will support this bill,” Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado said Wednesday to CNBC. “It is even less likely that the Senate would take it up. Therefore, I would just suggest that we deal with other bills that we can get a much larger bipartisan support from.”
Currently, 11 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational use, and a majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, according to the Pew Research Center.