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Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
John D. Kirby in San Diego, CA

The House of Representatives has approved legislation that decriminalizes marijuana on the federal level. This is the first time that a chamber of Congress has voted on federal marijuana decriminalization. The bill passed on party lines with 222 Democrats and 5 Republicans voted in support while 158 Republicans and 6 Democrats voted against it.

“Millions of Americans’ lives have been upended as a result of convictions for possessing small amounts of marijuana, and the racial disparities in conviction rates for those offenses are as shocking as they are unjust,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said in a statement after the vote. “That’s why we passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act today.”

About the MORE Act

The MORE act would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. It also would eliminate criminal penalties for those who distribute, manufacture, or possess marijuana. It also will create a new process that would remove prior convictions (expungement), and conduct sentencing review hearings for those with federal cannabis offenses.

A 5% sales tax on marijuana products would be authorized. This tax money would go into the legal aid, job training, and substance abuse treatment for those impacted. It would also provide funds for small business loans and allow access to marijuana licensing and employment for lower income individuals. The bill was first introduced by Judiciary Chair, Jerry Nadler, last July. California Democratic senator, Kamala Harris, who is now Vice President, introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

36 states currently have voted to legalize marijuana, for either medicinal (36) or recreational purposes (15). 

Call to Schedule a Free Consultation With a Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you have been charged with a marijuana drug crime, call to schedule a free consultation at the Law Offices of John D. Kirby with a criminal defense attorney today. Schedule a legal consultation by giving us a call at 619-557-0100.