High Expectations: How The House Is Moving To Legalize Marijuana
House passes bill to legalize marijuana – Forbes Advisor

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Marijuana is about to be legalized in the United States.

On Friday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would decriminalize marijuana use at the federal level. He will now go to the Senate, where Democrats are already working to introduce their own marijuana legalization bill.

Marijuana legalization is in a sticky spot: while most states have legalized it for recreational or medical use, it is still federally illegal.

But it is an extremely popular decision among Americans: An April 2021 poll from Pew Research found that 91% of American adults believe that marijuana should be legal, whether for medical, recreational or both at the federal level.

And while the vote would open the door to a sweeping change in how weed is used in the United States, it is expected to hit hurdles in the Senate.

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Here’s what you need to know.

The MORE Act: Can Marijuana Become Federally Legal?

Currently, 37 states have legalized cannabis for medical purposes and 18 have legalized it for medical and recreational use. But since it’s still illegal under federal law, it poses significant challenges for marijuana businesses, including being barred from accessing financial services and being unable to obtain loans or bank accounts.

Late last week, the House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Clearance Act (MORE). The bill would remove marijuana from the list of scheduled substances and remove any criminal penalties for those who manufacture, distribute or possess marijuana.

If passed by the Senate and signed into law, the proposal would also give a fresh start to those who have already been convicted of cannabis-related offenses. The MORE Act would require courts to expunge prior marijuana-related convictions from criminal records and dismiss those currently serving time for such convictions. It would also allow people who have been convicted of cannabis-related offenses to receive public benefits.

The proposed law would not stop there – it would also generate funds to help support communities in need. The MORE Act would impose a federal tax on marijuana sales, the proceeds of which would fund drug treatment programs and legal counseling to help communities negatively impacted by the War on Drugs, which are overwhelmingly communities of color.

The federal government could make a lot of money if the MORE Act becomes law. California, one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana use, generated more than $1 billion in marijuana tax revenue just two years after statewide legalization. Legal cannabis sales are expected to reach $40.5 billion by 2025.

Proponents of marijuana legalization argue that its criminalization is racist, costly for justice and goes against public opinion. According to the ACLUblack Americans are more likely to be arrested than white Americans for possession of marijuana, despite similar rates of use.

Will the Senate vote to legalize marijuana?

The MORE Act is expected to face challenges in the Senate. Even if all Senate Democrats voted in favor of the bill, it would still take 10 GOP votes for it to pass and become law. The bill only received three Republican votes in the House, indicating it could be a tough sell in the Senate.

Analysts have already predicted that it will not become lawin part because of the will of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pass its own marijuana legalization invoice.

Even if the MORE Act fails, it opens the door to a more open view of marijuana at the federal level. Cannabis has been a scapegoat for racism since the 20th century when Mexican immigrants brought the tradition of smoking marijuana to the United States. It was banned federally in 1937.

Federal decriminalization of marijuana may still be a long way off, but other proposals show how the tone toward marijuana is changing.

Another law related to marijuana, the SAFE banking law, would allow cannabis-related businesses to obtain bank accounts, which they currently cannot do under federal law. This ban leaves cannabis businesses vulnerable to theft. The bill was passed in the House six times but arblocked several times in the Senate.

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