New Delhi: The Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives on Friday passed a sweeping legislation that would decriminalize marijuana at the national level for the very first time. This move also involves clearing the way to erase nonviolent federal marijuana convictions. The bill or the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act) was passed by a mostly party-line 228-164 vote, with 6 Democrats voting against the bill and 5 Republicans voting for it. However, the Republican-controlled Senate is unlikely to approve the bill. Also Read - Risk of Further Incitement of Violence: Twitter Permanently Suspends Trump's Account
This bill was introduced by House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler last July. For the bill to become a law, it is necessary for it to be passed by the Senate and be signed by the president. And, if that happens, it could help bridge a major disconnect between national and state drug policy in the US. Also Read - Georgia Runoff: Democrats Win First County, Narrow Lead in Second; Control of Senate in Sight
According to a USA Today report, the measure, would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and expunge some marijuana-related criminal records. However, it would still be up to states to pass their own regulations on the sale of marijuana. Also Read - US House Passes Bill to Provide Americans USD 2,000 Stimulus Checks, Sends it to GOP-led Senate
Nadler stated that this legislation would help address the “mistake” of marijuana’s criminalization and its “racially disparate enforcement.”
“This long-overdue legislation would reverse the failed policy of criminalizing marijuana on the federal level and would take steps to address the heavy toll this policy has taken across the country, particularly on communities of color,” he said.
The bill’s likely passage comes as more states have legalised marijuana despite still being illegal federally, and public opinions on the topic have also shifted. As per reports, many more states including including New York, New Mexico, Connecticut and Pennsylvania are eyeing legalisation of marijuana in the coming years.