*The House of Representatives has approved legislation to decriminalize marijuana on the federal level and seek to “address the devastating injustices caused by the War on Drugs.”
In a vote of 228-164 on Friday in the Democratic-led House agreed to remove marijuana from the schedule 1 classification of narcotics. It’s doubtful the bill will pass the Republican-led Senate, however.
The bill, co-sponsored by Democratic representatives Earl Blumenauer and Barbara Lee, also seeks to expunge the records of nonviolent drug offenders. It would use tax from legal marijuana sales to fund rehab clinics and programs that support marijuana entrepreneurship in urban communities.
“This is an opportunity to strike a blow against the failed war on drugs, that has literally destroyed hundreds of thousands of young Black lives,” Blumenauer said, ahead of the vote.
“We’re not rushing to legalize marijuana. The American people have already done that. We’re here because Congress has failed to deal with a disastrous war on drugs and do its part for the over 15 million marijuana users in every one of your districts,” he added. “It’s time for Congress to step up and do its part. We need to catch up with the rest of the American people.”
By a vote of 228-164, the House of Representatives passes a bill to decriminalize marijuana.pic.twitter.com/WbHKvhDgIu
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) December 4, 2020
Recreational marijuana use is fully legal in 15 states plus the District of Columbia.
Before the bill was passed, Republicans spoke out in opposition, claiming marijuana is a gateway drug.
“Marijuana is one of the most abused substances on this planet,” Rep. Greg Murphy argued. “Legalizing weed would create revenue from taxes, but at what cost? Do we then start legalizing cocaine? Marijuana is a gateway drug — make no mistake about that. It undoubtably leads to further and much more dangerous drug use.”
Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler argued, “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,”, he said, per revolt.com. “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.”