Vote Over Decriminalization Of Marijuana Happens This Month
There is a huge vote going through the House of Representatives next week. At stake - the legalization of marijuana on a federal level.
They're calling it The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act or the MORE Act and it's up for a vote in September.
What does it mean?
It means that if this passes the house, marijuana could be legalized on the federal level. But that doesn't mean that suddenly everyone will be able to begin smoking marijuana without consequence. It will then be left to the individual states to determine if it should be legal there.
As of right now, laws vary across the states. Some have already legalized use of marijuana recreationally or for medical uses. The states where it is completely legal include Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine.
The bill would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act which was passed in 1970. Drugs on that list have been labeled as having a higher potential for abuse and no medical benefit. Science has shown medical benefits with its use since then.
According to WGRZ, the act would also authorize the assessment of a 5% sales tax on marijuana and it's related products to create an "Opportunity Trust Fund." It would also establish processes to expunge convictions and also hold sentence review hearings for those with cannabis-related offenses.
In New York, marijuana isn't fully legal yet. In 2019, Governor Cuomo signed a bill that would reduce the penalty for possessing up to an ounce of marijuana to a $50 fine (from $100) and automatically erases old convictions for decriminalized conduct.