House Passes Landmark Bill Despite Biden’s Opposition
The U.S. House of Representatives voted to federally decriminalize marijuana and allow some marijuana convictions to be expunged — but the bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate and the desk of President Joe Biden, who opposes legalization.
The landmark legislation would remove marijuana from the government’s list of scheduled substances, meaning that growing, selling, or possessing cannabis would no longer be a crime.
The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act passed the House 220-204, with three Republicans voting in favor and two Democrats voting against it.
The MORE Act would also implement a process to expunge non-violent marijuana convictions and review sentences. Additionally, it would allow cannabis businesses to be eligible for government loans and implement a tax on cannabis products.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki indicated that the bill doesn’t have Biden’s support, but he is open to marijuana reforms.
“As the president said during the campaign, our current marijuana laws are not working,” Psaki said. “He agrees that we need to rethink our approach, including to address the racial disparities and systemic inequities in our criminal justice system, broaden research on the effects of marijuana and support the safe use of marijuana for medical purposes.”
“We look forward to working with Congress to achieve our shared goals and we’ll continue having discussions with them about this objective,” she added.
Last year, the Biden administration announced it had fired “only five” people for past marijuana use.