The time when marijuana would be decriminalized by the US Federal Government looks nearer than ever. This is after the US House of Representatives passed the MORE Act. The MORE Act is a marijuana legalization bill sponsored by Jerrold Nadler, the New York Representative. The bill was passed through a bipartisan vote.
The passing of the marijuana legalization bill means that growing marijuana, cannabis packaging for sale and use will be legal in the entire country. It also means all criminal penalties will be eliminated. Thousands of people who have been incarcerated due to marijuana use may also enjoy their freedom. The passing of the bill was achieved after a 2020-204 vote, which was mainly done along party lines.
Who were for and against the bill
Legislators who voted for the bill are Brian Mart – Florida, Tom McClintock – California, and Matt Gaetz. They are all republicans. Those who voted against are democrats Henry Cuellar – Texas and Chris Pappas – New Hampshire. The MORE Act is an abbreviation for Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act. The house passed it in 2021, but it was never moved to the Senate.
Once the marijuana legalization bill is signed into law, it will set the pace for expunging all convictions made on US citizens previously. A tax on all cannabis products will also be imposed. In the earliest phase, the tax will be capped at 5 percent, but it will later be raised to 8 percent.
The revenue earned through taxation will be used for treating victims of substance abuse, recreational programs, job training, legal help, and mentoring. Small businesses in the marijuana industry will have a window to apply for loans from the funds. The businesses will use the money for the development of the business. However, the businesses that will benefit from the funds are only those owned and managed by economically disadvantaged minority groups.
It is a key criminal justice reform
In her remarks, the House speaker Nancy Pelosi said the passing of the marijuana legalization bill was a key criminal justice reform in the US’s recent history. In 2021, the house passed a similar marijuana legalization bill, but it didn’t succeed in the Senate. According to the bill’s sponsor Jerrold Nadler, the legislation was overdue. He said the bill would reverse many years of failed federal policies that had criminalized marijuana.
Nadler noted that the marijuana legalization bill would help address the painful experiences the policies had caused in the entire country, especially among the people of color. The state has for many decades criminalized marijuana instead of treating it as a personal choice.
According to Nancy Pelosi, the passing of the marijuana legalization bill is in line with the events taking place across most of the US states. Although most US states have legalized the use of both recreational and medical cannabis, it has remained illegal at the federal level.
At least 91 percent of Americans supported the legalization of marijuana
Pew Research conducted a poll in 2021 and published the results. From the poll results, at least 91 percent of Americans supported the legalization of marijuana, whether it’s for medical or recreational use. The poll results were the same for the state and federal levels. Currently, 18 states have legalized the use of both medical and recreational cannabis. Another 19 states have either legalized marijuana for medical use or recreational only.
The fact that it has remained illegal at the federal level has been a big hindrance to business. For example, it has remained a challenge to transport cannabis and its products across states even when it is destined to a state that has legalized its use. Another challenge has been getting loans from financial institutions to fund cannabis projects. Some of the states that have legalized cannabis use have been supportive of funding specific projects like research.
The passing of the marijuana legalization bill came at the right time. Marijuana will no longer be on the list of scheduled substances. That means no one in the US can be arrested if they are found in possession of either recreational or medical use cannabis. It is also critical for those serving criminal sentences related to cannabis.
What it means to growers
Passing the marijuana legalization bill means a lot to marijuana growers. Generally, they have been restricted from growing cannabis in their states. In some states, restrictions have been on the growth of marijuana in specific areas. The growers could only sell the plants within the state where they were grown. This is because it was difficult to transport the plants from one state to another.
The passing of the marijuana legalization bill means the grower can grow the plants in one state and sell them to a processor located in another state. It will help bounce back the prices to favorable levels. There has been an oversupply in some states and undersupply in others. Cannabis product manufacturers will also have a wider market reach. Regardless, there will be strict laws at the state level that govern the growing, harvesting, distribution, and processing of cannabis and its products.
All eyes will be on the Senate
The last time a similar bill was passed by the house, it stalled in the Senate, which was a huge setback to the hopes of many Americans. Medical marijuana is particularly essential to the millions of Americans who depend on the product for their life. For the second time, all eyes will be upon the Senate to see what they will decide.
If the marijuana legalization bill passes in the Senate, it will pave the way for all the laws relevant to the growing, harvesting, processing, and use of cannabis. According to Steny Hoyer, the House Majority leader, the marijuana legalization bill is a key piece of legislation. He said he is aware of it because, at the state level, voters had consistently pushed for legalization.
He said the bill had nothing personal but had everything to do with justice and providing equal opportunities to Americans. The bill has everything to do with the elimination of inequalities. He said it would help bring reformations in the US criminal justice systems that had been neglected for many decades. Now America will become stronger and better, and there will be fairness in the justice system.