By Nicole Potter
The US House of Representatives voted in favor of approving a bill that would legalize cannabis on a federal level.
Between December 3-4, the House held an extensive formal discussion on legalizing cannabis for the first time. Finally, a vote on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act was passed 227 to 164.
On December 3, numerous congress members spoke in favor of the MORE Act and how it would benefit Americans across the country.
Longtime advocate Representative Earl Blumenauer provided some honest insight about the situation. “We’re not rushing to legalize marijuana. The American people have already done that. We’re here because Congress has failed to deal with the disastrous war on drugs,” he said at the House podium.
Representative Lou Correa brought up support of veterans, who are rapidly moving to cannabis over pharmaceutical medications. “Let’s align federal cannabis law with the will of the people, and let’s take full advantage of the medical benefits of cannabis…Veterans prefer cannabis over opioids to treat the invisible wounds that they bring back from the battlefield.”
Representative Tulsi Gabbard called this vote a “historic moment that so many here and across the country have been working toward to take this step to end America’s destructive and costly war on drugs that has turned everyday Americans into criminals and torn families apart, ruining so many people’s lives.”
Despite the support of cannabis, other Congress members criticized the vote. According to Marijuana Moment, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy believes that “cats and cannabis” (cats refers to the Big Cat Public Safety Act which bans ownership of large, exotic cats) is not an important topic when the pandemic is still at an all-time high.
The MORE Act, which was initially introduced in July 2019, would decriminalize cannabis on a federal level and remove cannabis from its current classification as a Schedule I substance. The bill includes numerous measures to support those who were negatively affected by the War on Drugs. The bill now moves to the Senate, and if passed there, it will move to President Donald Trump’s desk for final approval.