House of Representatives Approves Ending Marijuana Prohibition

The United States House of Representatives just approved a bill that would end federal marijuana prohibition, marking the first time a full chamber of Congress has approved marijuana legalization. However, the measure still has a big hill to climb in the U.S. Senate.

New York Representative Jerry Nadler’s Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, better known as the MORE Act, would end federal marijuana prohibition by removing the plant from the Controlled Substances Act. The measure, approved 228-164 on December 4, proposes allowing states to regulate the plant as they see fit, and would set up funding and programs that allow expungement for cannabis offenders and call for social equity in any potential federally legal pot industry.

According to a congressional summary of the bill, the MORE Act would impose a 5 percent federal tax on marijuana that would be used to establish a trust fund intended to support programs benefiting communities impacted by the War on Drugs, as well as issue small business loans to cannabis business owners. The bill would also do the following: require that the Bureau of Labor Statistics regularly publish demographic data on cannabis business owners and employees; guarantee protection for prior marijuana offenders from losing federal benefits or immigration status; and establish an expungement process for prior pot convictions.

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