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The bill to legalize marijuana passes House, prospects are weak in the Senate



(Reuters) – The US House of Representatives on Friday passed a bill to end the federal ban on marijuana, which has created legal headaches for users and businesses in the states that have legalized it, although the measure was considered unlikely to pass the Senate.

It passed 220-204, with few Republicans supporting the measure.

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, sponsored by Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, which is legalizing the drug, removes marijuana from the list of controlled substances and eliminates criminal penalties for individuals who grow, distribute or possess it. .

But the MORE law will need to get 60 votes in the equally divided Senate before it goes to President Joe Biden̵

7;s desk for his signature, a result that is widely considered unlikely given the lack of Republican support for the measure.

The bill would “put an end to decades of failed and unfair marijuana policies,” Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter said in Parliament’s floor on Thursday before the vote. “It is clear that the ban is over. Today we have an opportunity to map out a new way forward for federal cannabis policy that actually makes sense.”

He added that the bill does not force any state to legalize marijuana.

Marijuana users and companies that sell it are facing a complicated legal patchwork in the United States, where 37 states have legalized it in some form – either for recreation or medical use – while 13 still ban it completely.

Because federal law classifies cannabis as an illegal drug without medical use, researchers are severely limited in how they can study the drug and its effects, making it difficult to write policy.

Cannabis companies are also largely blocked from the US banking system due to the federal ban.

Republican Rep. Michelle Fischbach called the legislation “not just wrong but dangerous,” arguing on the floor of parliament that it did not protect minors and would encourage people to open marijuana companies.

Legalizing marijuana is extremely popular among Americans: A 2021 poll by the Pew Research Center showed that 91% agreed that either medical or recreational use should be allowed.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has proposed his own bill that would legalize marijuana and has pledged to move forward with it in April.


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