The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on cannabis decriminalization next week

The people have spoken. Are their elected leaders listening?

decriminalization

Next week, the House of Representatives votes on the MORE Act. If passed, that bill, also known as the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019, decriminalizes cannabis. Photo by f11photo/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

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The people have spoken. Earlier this month Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota voted to legalize recreational cannabis. They join 11 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing recreational weed. Voters in South Dakota also legalized the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, as did those in Mississippi. They join 33 states and the D.C. in passing laws legalizing or decriminalizing medical pot. Polls show that most Americans are in favour of legalizing (or decriminalizing) cannabis at the federal level.

Are their elected leaders listening? We’ll find out next week, when the House of Representatives votes on the MORE Act. If passed, that bill, also known as the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019, decriminalizes cannabis.

“Specifically, it 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,” according to its official summary.

Vote will happen between Wednesday and Friday

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said the vote will happen sometime between Wednesday and Friday (December 2 to 4). Before that, the House Rules Committee will prepare the legislation for the floor.

As CannCentral reported at the end of August, the House was scheduled to vote on the bill back in September. According to Marijuana Moment, “that plan was postponed following pushback from certain centrist Democrats who worried about the optics of advancing cannabis reform before passing another coronavirus relief package.”

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws reacted positively to the news of next week’s decriminalization vote.

“This floor vote represents the first Congressional roll call ever on the question of ending federal marijuana criminalization,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “By advancing the MORE Act, the House of Representatives sends an unmistakable signal that America is ready to close the book marijuana prohibition and end the senseless oppression and fear that this failed policy wreaks on otherwise law-abiding citizens.

“Americans are ready to responsibly legalize and regulate marijuana,” Strekal concluded, “and this vote shows some lawmakers are finally listening.”

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