Marijuana legalization advances on Capitol Hill

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David DownsNovember 20, 2019

Nationwide legalization passed out of committee. Now it moves on to the complete Home for consideration. (sborisov/iStock)

Cannabis legalization advocates and allies are cheering the advance of the Extra Act, which moved to the complete floor of Congress Wednesday morning just after a historic committee vote. The committee tally incorporated 22 Democrats and two Republicans voting in favor of the measure.

Some 66% of Americans want to finish federal cannabis prohibition—citing its injustice, failure, and expense.

The 24-10 vote in the Home Judiciary Committee is the 1st time a Home committee has authorized ending marijuana prohibition. The Marijuana Chance Reinvestment and Expungement (Extra) Act of 2019, or H.R. 3884, deschedules cannabis, expunges records, and earmarks federal tax income for little, minority-owned firms. Home Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) sponsored the bill, and it at present has 55 cosponsors.

In 2018, police produced much more than 663,000 marijuana-associated arrests—a 3-year higher. Cannabis is the most prevalent kind of drug arrest, and drug arrests are the most prevalent kind of arrest police make. Several research have discovered that men and women of colour are much more most likely to be arrested for marijuana, regardless of use prices comparable to national averages.

A single step closer to prohibition’s finish

Advocates like Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno cheered the vote. “The United States is coming one particular step closer to ending the devastating harms of marijuana prohibition, which have fallen so heavily on black and brown men and women,” she mentioned.

Citizen activism played a part. Longtime advocacy group NORML helped citizens send 55,000 messages to their Congressional representatives supporting the Extra Act in the space of just two days.

“Opposition to our failed war on marijuana has reached a boiling point with more than two-thirds of all Americans,” mentioned NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “including majorities of all political persuasions, now supporting legalization. Congress need to respect the will of the men and women and promptly approve the Extra Act and close this dark chapter of failed public policy.”

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), a longtime legalization advocate and a founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, mentioned today’s vote was “exciting and frankly extremely emotional for me to be in the Judiciary Committee hearing area as Chairman Nadler announced the final vote. … This vote was a vote for progressive reform, for racial justice, for individual freedom, for financial chance, and for superior overall health.”

What’s in the Extra Act

Legalization opponents Project SAM had no quick statement just after the Home Judiciary vote. Ahead of the vote, Project SAM stated that the bill “contains no provisions defending youth from the marijuana sector.” Research have discovered that underage cannabis use has not improved following state-regulated legalization.

The Extra Act does include provisions that would shield youth from the incarceration sector, on the other hand. The Extra Act:

  • Strikes “marihuana” off the Controlled Substances Act
  • Ends cannabis discrimination for federal added benefits and immigration
  • Enacts federal resentencing and expungement
  • Institutes a five% cannabis tax
  • Creates a Cannabis Justice Workplace
  • Begins tracking race and gender in the sector
  • Creates a trust fund
  • Creates a neighborhood reinvestment grant system and equitable licensing grants
  • Green-lights federal Compact Organization Administration help

McFarland Sánchez-Moreno mentioned, “This legislation will not make up for the complete scale of harm that prohibition has triggered to its victims. It is not going to return anybody their lost dreams, time lost at the mercy of the criminal justice technique or the years spent away from their households. But this legislation is the closest we’ve come but to not only ending these harms at the federal level, but also starting to repair them.”

“Now it is up to Congress to do the correct point and swiftly pass the bill to make sure justice is not delayed a moment longer.”

David Downs's Bio Image

David Downs

David Downs directs news and way of life coverage as the California Bureau Chief for Leafly.com. He’s written for WIRED, Rolling Stone and Billboard, and is the former cannabis editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, as nicely as the author of many cannabis books such as ‘Marijuana Harvest’ by Ed Rosenthal and David Downs. He co-hosts The Hash podcast. TW: @davidrdowns | IG @daviddowns


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