The historic congress vote to legalize marijuana is anticipated later this week
Democratic House majority leader Steny Hoyer, Maryland, announced on Thanksgiving weekend that the MORE bill, which would end the federal cannabis ban, calls for a full vote next week.
A vote by the house to end the federal ban could take place on Wednesday. But it is expected to stand still in the Senate.
The vote could take place on Wednesday evening.
Lawyers expect the bill to be passed; House managers usually don’t bring action to the floor unless they know they have the votes. The passage of the MORE bill would be the first time the House or Senate has voted since it came into effect following the passage of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act as a full chamber of legislation ending the federal cannabis ban.
The MORE Act calls for profound changes to the federal cannabis law
After the vote in the House of Representatives, a rise in the Senate
However, being successful in the home is only half the battle. The US Senate remains in the hands of Republicans and their leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky. Lots of Republicans support legalization, but McConnell is a staunch prohibitionist who has stated that marijuana is not legalized on his watch.
Senator Mitch McConnell has stated that marijuana is not legalized on his watch.
“This vote marks the first ever appeal by Congress to end federal marijuana criminalization,” said Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director. “With the advancement of the MORE bill, the House of Representatives is sending an unmistakable signal that America is ready to shut down the book marijuana ban and end senseless repression, and fear that these failed policies will harm otherwise law-abiding citizens. “
Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) MP, longtime legalization advocate and chairman of the cannabis caucus in Congress, announced the vote as an important step forward.
“I have worked longer on this issue than any politician in America and I can safely say that the MORE Act is the most comprehensive federal cannabis reform law in US history,” said Blumenauer in a statement.
According to the survey, record numbers of Americans support marijuana legalization
Two-thirds of Americans want it to be legalized
The expected vote, added Blumenauer, “will come after people in five very different states reaffirm strong bipartisan support for reforming the failed cannabis ban. National federal support for cannabis legalization is at an all-time high, and nearly 99% of Americans will soon be living in states with some form of legal cannabis. Congress must seize this momentum and do our part to end the failed ban policy that has resulted in a long and shameful period of selective enforcement against color communities. ”
In addition to decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level, the MORE bill would repeal federal marijuana convictions and reinvest it in communities hardest hit by the war on drugs.
2020 election: results of cannabis legalization and live coverage
Earlier vote postponed due to election concerns
The vote on the MORE bill comes more than two months after the bill originally spoke.
Democrats delayed an earlier vote for fear of looks. However, legalizing cannabis turned out to be more popular than most candidates – regardless of party.
As early as September, moderate Democrats facing re-election challenges put pressure on the House of Representatives to postpone the vote until after the November 3 elections. These party members believed the optics of voting for marijuana would hurt them with moderate and indecisive voters.
In fact, regardless of party, cannabis legalization turned out to be more popular than most of the candidates. In Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota, legalization measures were passed with hefty margins.
The democratic majority in the House of Representatives actually decreased in the November 3rd elections. Democrats lost a dozen house seats, despite Joe Biden winning the presidency by nearly seven million votes.
Bruce Barcott, Leafly’s senior editor, oversees news, investigations, and feature projects. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.
Show article by Bruce Barcott