It finally happened this past Friday. The United States House of Representatives made history by voting in favor of a bill to federally legalize marijuana.
The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act passed with a floor vote of 228 to 164. It’s a bill that proposes to federally deschedule cannabis and to allow anyone with a prior weed conviction to have their criminal records expunged was ratified by the House.
Following the vote, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer stated, “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. That's why we passed the MORE Act today."
The House vote is a definite leap forward in the struggle to end pot prohibition in the US. Unfortunately, all good feelings over it are likely to be short-lived, as MORE is expected to get shot down fast by the Republican-led Senate.
Even before the House vote last week, numerous Republican politicians spat venom at the bill, whose chief sponsor in their chamber of Congress is Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. No surprise, the vile Mitch McConnell has long slithered among those most dismissive of cannabis reform.
While debating the bill, Republicans voiced disingenuous concerns about public safety. Of course, what truly scares those GOP ghouls is that the MORE Act specifically seeks to create restorative justice programs for the populations who have been most decimated by the War on Drugs — namely those who Republicans consider enemies: black, brown, and indigenous peoples.
Specifically, the MORE Act would direct funds to such communities by creating an excise tax on cannabis sales. The bill would also help minority-owned businesses enter the legal marijuana marketplace.
So the MORE Act’s House victory is likely just a symbolic message from Democrats to Republicans — and the rational people of the world — that the federal legalization of cannabis is inevitable.
So, when the Republican Senate kills MORE, they will make it clear that we, the people, do not matter to them and locking human beings in cages for using a plant does.