And will our previously convicted brothers and sisters be allowed to work in the industry?
The House of Representatives has voted to pass a measure that would decriminalize marijuana on a federal level in a vote that passed 228 – 164, with six haters voting to oppose.
Epic, but we still have ways to go.
The floor argument: 36 states and D.C. have already legalized medical marijuana and while 15 let weed rock for recreational use, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler stressed that by legalizing, it
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.”
For far too long, we have treated marijuana as a criminal justice problem instead of as a matter of personal choice and public health. Whatever one’s views are on the use of marijuana for recreational or medicinal use, the policy of arrests, prosecution, and incarceration at the Federal level has proven unwise and unjust.
I have long believed that the criminalization of marijuana has been a mistake, and the racially disparate enforcement of marijuana laws has only compounded this mistake, with serious consequences, particularly for communities of color.”
Naturally, the Republicans tried to argue weed is a gateway drug, responsible for all of the crime in the world, a false claim designed to marginalize Black and brown folks. In 2020, more people were arrested for cannabis than they were for violent crimes, with arrests occurring every 58 seconds. The passing of this bill will prevent the further imprisonment of consumers seeking holistic healing.
With the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, cannabis will be federally descheduled and those with prior convictions will have their records expunged.
While the House is on deck with the spark ups, the senate is Republican-controlled. We know they are blockers.
In her opening argument, Rep Shelila Jackson Lee of Texas stressed three very important reasons why marijuana should be removed from the list of federally controlled substances.
Across this nation, thousands of men and women have suffered needlessly from the federal criminalization of marijuana, particularly in communities of color and have borne the burden of collateral consequences for those ensnared in criminal legal systems that have damaged our society across generations.This is unacceptable and we must change our laws. It is time for Congress to catch up with the reforms that states are enacting.”
Sheila proposed taxation where money would go back to the community in efforts to rebuild from the effects of the War On Drugs. She presses for a government structure that saves lives, while schooling the House on the gross imbalance as communities of color continue to be locked up.
Matt Gaetz, the only Republican supporting this act, spoke to how debilitating the government is not just to the Black community, but in allowing access to research in cannabis.
As long as 45’s cronies are still in the Senate, there is little chance it will be law, but he has to leave some time. President Joe Biden has pledged to support the decriminalization, but we’d still have to wait after he’s inaugurated to see if it would be legalized since it would have to go through the House again, then cleared through the Senate. With two run-off elections set to take place in Georgia, it’s up in the air.
This is the first time in 50 years that Congress has resisted the classification of cannabis. If it were to pass though, Marijuana Policy Project Execution Director Steve Hawkins says the bill falls short.
“An amendment inserted in the final days before today’s vote would empower the federal government to prevent Americans who have been charged with cannabis-related felonies from working in the marijuana industry. This policy could block many of those individuals accused of prior marijuana offenses from participating in the legal market, which will inhibit our ability to create an equitable and fair marijuana industry. The fact that it might apply to people who were never even convicted of a crime makes it particularly unacceptable.
Not to mention, it’s effed up.
While this is a historic moment and step in the right direction, there are still many contingencies for this to come through. In the meantime, if you live in an illegal state, sparking up in a staircase never fails.