Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Passes House
The House has voted with a narrow bipartisan majority to decriminalise marijuana at the federal level.
According to CNN, there was a 220 to 204 vote. The Republican Tom McClintock of California, Republican Brian Mast and Republican Matt Gaetz of Florida joined most Democrats in supporting the bill, while the Democrats Henry Cuellar of Texas and Chris Pappas of New Hampshire voted against it.
The legislation, sponsored by Democratic Rep, will prevent federal agencies from denying federal workers security clearances for marijuana use and will allow the Veterans Administration to recommend medical marijuana to veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder.
In addition, it will allow the Government to generate revenue by taxing marijuana sales.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the bill also expunges the records of people convicted of non-violent marijuana offenses, which, he added, can haunt people of color forever and adversely influence their careers and lives.
“It can result in difficulty finding employment, difficulty finding housing, denial of access of federal benefits, denial of financial aid at colleges and universities, and denial of the right to vote,” Hoyer explained.
“That’s why we’re dealing with this.”
Dems in the Senate have introduced a similar legalization measure, but neither it nor the House-passed MORE Act is expected to pass the 60-vote threshold. During her weekly news conference on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised the bill.
She told reporters that the ruling is “consistent with what is happening in many states.”
“It also addresses the injustices of it because of what penalties had been before some of these, this decriminalization took place,” she added. “So I’m all for it.”