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Marijuana is one step closer to legalization in the United States.
On Friday, the House of Representatives approved a bill that would decriminalize marijuana use at the federal level. He will now go to the Senate, where Democrats are already working to introduce their own bill to legalize marijuana.
The legalization of marijuana is at a critical juncture: While most states have legalized it for recreational or medical purposes, it is still illegal at the federal level.
But it’s a move that is overwhelmingly popular with Americans: An April 2021 poll by Pew Research found that 91% of U.S. adults believe marijuana should be legal, whether medically or recreationally or both at the federal level.
And while the vote would open the door to radically change the way the weed is used in the US, it is expected to reach obstacles in the Senate.
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Here’s what you need to know.
The MORE Act: Can Marijuana Become Federally Legal?
Currently, 37 states have legalized cannabis for medical use and 18 have legalized it for both medical and recreational use. But as it remains illegal under federal law, it poses significant challenges for marijuana businesses, including banning access to financial services and failing to obtain loans or bank accounts.
Late last week, the House of Representatives voted in favor Law on Reinvestment and Elimination of Marijuana Opportunities (MORE).. The bill would remove marijuana from the list of scheduled substances and remove any criminal penalties for those who manufacture, distribute or possess marijuana.
If passed by the Senate and signed into law, the proposal will also give those with previous convictions for cannabis-related offenses a new beginning. The MORE Act would require courts to remove previous marijuana-related convictions from the criminal record and to resent those currently serving sentences for such convictions. It will also allow people convicted of cannabis-related offenses to receive public benefits.
The proposed law will not stop there – it will also raise funds to help communities in need. MORE will impose a federal tax on marijuana sales, with the proceeds funding funding substance abuse treatment and legal advice programs to help communities affected by the war on drugs. overwhelming color communities.
There could be serious money for the federal government if MORE becomes law. California, one of the first states to legalize marijuana use for recreational purposes, produced more than $ 1 billion in marijuana tax revenue just two years after state legitimacy. Legal cannabis sales are projected to reach $ 40.5 billion by 2025.
Proponents of marijuana legalization argue that criminalizing marijuana is racially motivated, costly for the judicial system and contrasts with public sentiment. According to the ACLUBlack Americans are more likely to be arrested than white Americans for possession of marijuana, despite similar use rates.
Will the Senate vote on legalizing marijuana?
The MORE bill is expected to address challenges in the Senate. Even if all Senate Democrats voted in favor of the bill, it would take 10 GOP votes to pass and sign into law. The bill received only three Republican votes in Parliament, indicating that it could be difficult to sell to the Senate.
Analysts have already predicted that it will not pass lawin part because of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who wants to pass its own legalization of marijuana bill.
Even if the MORE Act fails, it opens the door to a more open marijuana perspective at the federal level. Cannabis has been a scapegoat for racism from the 20th century when Mexican immigrants brought the tradition of marijuana smoking to the United States. It was banned at the federal level in 1937.
Federal decriminalization of marijuana may still be unpredictable, but other proposals show how the tone toward marijuana is changing.
Another law related to marijuana, secure banking law, would allow cannabis-related businesses to obtain bank accounts, which is currently prohibited under federal law. This ban leaves cannabis businesses vulnerable to robbery. The bill has been voted in Parliament six times but has pdeadlock in the Senate.