The United States House of Representatives approved legislation on Friday that would legalize marijuana across the country.
It would also erase the long-standing criminal sanctions for those who distribute or have it in their possession.
Despite the fact the law was carried primarily along party lines (220-204), three Republicans joined all, except two Democrats, in voting in favor.
Only three conservatives voted for the bill to pass and the most notable one was Matt Gaetz of Florida.
The bill now moves on to the U.S. Senate, where Chuck Schumer is collaborating with his colleagues to propose legalization act as early as possible.
However, it is unclear if a law to fully legalize marijuana would be able to get the 60 votes required to progress in the Senate.
Senators May Shoot the Bill Down
Schumer’s own Democratic caucus may not be able to provide him with enough backing.
Senators Joe Manchin and Jeanne Shaheen, both Democrats who represent states that have been devastated by the opioid crisis, have voiced skepticism about the idea.
Democrats in the House of Representatives earlier approved legislation to legalize marijuana by December 2020. However, that legislation failed to gain traction in the Senate, which was under Republicans’ control at the time.
On the House vote to legalize marijuana: There were three GOP yeas on the bill: Reps. Tom McClintock (R-CA), Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Brian Mast (R-FL). Two Democrats voted nay: Reps. Chris Pappas (D-NH) and Henry Cuellar (R-TX).
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) April 1, 2022
In addition, the plan would put a federal income tax on pot sales to support programs targeted at assisting communities that have been damaged by various policies.
This includes the so-called war against drugs, which imposed severe sanctions on those who distribute or use narcotics.
A 5% sales tax would be implemented initially, with a gradual rise to 8% over the course of five years.
Chairman Jerry Nadler the primary proponent of the legislation, stated, “For decades, we have handled marijuana as a criminal justice issue, rather than as a matter of individual choice and public health.”
According to Nadler, “If states are laboratories of democracy, it is past time for the federal government to admit that legalization has been a huge success and the clash with federal law has become unsustainable.”
Marijuana reform bill (MORE Act) passes House 220-204. All Democrats for except Henry Cuellar and Chris Pappas. All Republicans against except Matt Gaetz, Tom McClintock and Brian Mast. On to the Senate where it will again die.
— MattAWillett 🇺🇦 (@MattAWillett1) April 1, 2022
Prior to final approval, the House rejected an amendment proposed by Rep. Jamie Raskin to emphasize that persons cannot be refused security clearances because they consume marijuana.
12 Democrats joined all but two Republicans in voting against the measure, which was ultimately defeated.