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U.S. House Votes to Decriminalize Marijuana at the Federal Level

The U.S. House on Friday passed a bill that would remove marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances and erase federal convictions for non-violent marijuana crimes.

Posted: Dec 4, 2020 1:37 PM
Updated: Dec 4, 2020 2:04 PM

On Friday, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level.

The House passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act by a vote of 228 to 164.

According to congress.gov, specifically, the bill decriminalizes marijuana, removes marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act, and eliminates criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana.

The bill also makes other changes, including the following:

  • Replaces statutory references to marijuana and marihuana with cannabis.
  • Requires the Bureau of Labor Statistics to regularly publish demographic data on cannabis business owners and employees.
  • Establishes a trust fund to support various programs and services for individuals and businesses in communities impacted by the war on drugs.
  • Imposes a 5% tax on cannabis products and requires revenues to be deposited into the trust fund,
  • makes Small Business Administration loans and services available to entities that are cannabis-related legitimate businesses or service providers.
  • Prohibits the denial of federal public benefits to a person on the basis of certain cannabis-related conduct or convictions,
  • prohibits the denial of benefits and protections under immigration laws on the basis of a cannabis-related event (e.g., conduct or a conviction).
  • Establishes a process to expunge convictions and conduct sentencing review hearings related to federal cannabis offenses.
  • Directs the Government Accountability Office to study the societal impact of cannabis legalization.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized the marijuana bill, despite Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's pleas for the Majority Leader to bring the legislation to a vote in the Senate.

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