The United States House of Representatives has passed legislation that would decriminalizing marijuana nationwide.
The legislation would eliminate criminal penalties for anyone who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana and passed the House by a vote of 220-204.
The legislation does not stop there, it also expunges previous convictions deriving from the substance and also places a tax on the product which would go towards funding job training, mentoring, substance abuse treatment, legal aid, and youth recreation programs among other things.
Pelosi said the legislation would deliver “justice for those harmed by the brutal, unfair consequences of criminalization,” open opportunities for people to participate in the industry and decriminalize pot at the federal level “so we do not repeat the grave mistakes of our past.”
Thirty-seven states and Washington, D.C. have enacted laws legalizing medical marijuana, with 18 states and D.C. legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. Pelosi highlighted the changes made at the state level over the last few decades.
“Now it is time for the federal government to follow suit,” she said.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has been working with Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., to craft similar legalization legislation in their chamber. Prospects for passing such a bill in the Senate appear to be low because Democrats would need all of their members and 10 Republicans to overcome a 60-vote hurdle needed to advance to a final vote.
Nightly News Link will keep you updates on the legislation’s chances in the senate as more information becomes available.