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Marijuana Legalization Bill Clears Congressional Committee — and Here’s Why It Won’t Become Law

The House Judiciary Committee passed a bill to remove marijuana from federal controlled substances lists, expunge cannabis-related federal convictions and arrests, and allocate resources to communities that have been deeply affected by the war on drugs. 

The 24-10 vote passage of the bill through the House is a step towards it becoming law. However, it must ultimately still go through the Republican-controlled Senate and multiple other House committees. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE) is the first federally-passed cannabis legalization bill. 

Public opinion is overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing marijuana with a Gallup poll reporting support at 66 percent in 2019. Additionally, the largely questionable scientific research that suggests cannabis is a gateway drug continues to be debunked with each passing day. 

At the state level, governments have come to reflect public desire for legalization, while the federal government has been otherwise stuck. A fairly commonly held view is that the legislation should match the will of the people, so the refusal to move forward on these laws has been heavily criticised. 

GOP Representative Ken Buck noted that the majority of the Republicans would be unlikely to support the bill. He further suggests that the Senate would be less likely to approve it, adding that it would be wiser to spend time on other bills that could garner larger bipartisan support.

Even former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading Democratic candidate for president, recently brought up the idea that marijuana is a gateway drug and supports a platform that would maintain its status as a Schedule II drug. 

Trump himself donated part of his 2019 salary to federal promotional campaigns that warned about the dangers of cannabis. 

The bottom line is that while the majority of the citizenry are pro-legalization, there’s really no way around the fact that individuals in pivotal positions will not allow that to happen anytime soon.

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