For the first time in the history of our nation, national legislators have voted to decriminalize cannabis…and perhaps just in the nick of time.
The unprecedented vote took place on Friday, and followed similar maneuvers by Canada and Mexico in recent years.
The Democratic-led chamber approved the measure in a 228-164 vote. Only five Republicans and one independent backed it. Six Democrats voted against the bill.It marks the first time the House has voted to remove cannabis from the Federal Controlled Substances Act. The legislation also includes provisions to boost entrepreneurship in the legal marijuana business, including among people of color disproportionately harmed by decades of federal drug law enforcement.
It is unclear now whether the GOP-held Senate will have any appetite for taking up the bill.
The effort to decriminalize marijuana nationwide comes as more states legalize it for recreational or medical use. Fifteen states have now legalized the substance. Four — Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota — did so during the 2020 election alone.
The move comes as the nation reels from the prolonged economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic, and could usher in a new “gold rush” of sort here in the United States.
Of the fifteen states who’ve legalized the plant, there seems to be little regret whatsoever, and places like Colorado have enjoyed incredible tax revenue from the easy-to-grow crop.
Seeing the amount of Republicans who voted against the bill is alarming, however, especially when a great many of those members of the GOP have publicly pushed back on coronavirus lockdowns as governmental overreach, as though the arbitrary prohibition of marijuana wasn’t.
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