420 with CNW — Federal Marijuana Legalization Bill to Get Floor Vote in December

November 13, 2020 04:25:15

Steny Hoyer, a U.S. representative from Maryland and the House Majority Leader, wrote a letter to his colleagues providing details about the upcoming legislative session, slated to run November to December. That letter indicated that the long-awaited floor vote on federal marijuana legalization will happen, though he didn’t mention exactly when that’s likely to be during the brief session.

In his letter, Hoyer explains that the House will vote on the MORE Act. This bill seeks not only to decriminalize marijuana but also to create a pathway for the expungement of nonviolent, marijuana-related convictions that have made it nearly impossible for scores of Americans to secure employment, access credit or even find appropriate housing. These bottlenecks have prevented the affected people from contributing positively to the economies of the states where they reside.

It should be remembered that this same bill had been scheduled for a floor vote back in September. However, a number of Congressmen and women who faced tight races to retain their seats felt uneasy about voting on marijuana legalization while the House had failed to pass a COVID-19 stimulus package. The vote was therefore called off, and the Majority Leader promised to bring up the bill after the dust of the recently ended elections has settled.

Last week’s elections saw massive wins for marijuana as five states passed marijuana measures either for medical or recreational cannabis. That approval means that now more than one-third of the country has some form of legalized marijuana, including jurisdictions such as South Dakota and Montana, which are seen as very conservative.

Public sentiment is also massively in favor of federal cannabis legalization as evidenced by a recent Gallup poll, which found that nearly seven in ten Americans support the legalization of marijuana.

It is therefore not surprising that the House wants to vote on the pending marijuana bills since this is in line with what the public wants. Reacting to Hoyer’s letter about the planned floor vote, Rep. Barbara Lee, who co-chairs the marijuana caucus in the House, said that the success registered in the legalization ballot measures voted upon last week showed that it was necessary for Congress to get up to speed with the needs of the public.

Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, also expressed his agreement through a tweet regarding the planned floor vote. It now remains to be seen whether the bill will have sufficient support to pass.

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