US House of Representatives backs marijuana decriminalization for the first time
House Votes To Decriminalize Marijuana, Sends Bill To Senate | TODAY
Cannabis decriminalization law passed by majority vote – 228 to 164
On Friday, the US House of Representatives voted to decriminalize marijuana for the first time, an important step towards bringing federal legislation in line with the laws of states and other countries that have legalized marijuana use..
The House of Representatives, controlled by Democrats, passed the bill by a majority vote – it was supported by 228 congressmen, only 164 voted against. However, before it can enter the White House and become a law signed by the president, the document must be approved in the Senate, which is controlled by the Republican Party, and there is little chance of this at the moment..
The authors of the bill provided for the removal of marijuana from the lists of the Federal Controlled Substances Act, where cannabis is now in the first category of the most dangerous drugs, along with heroin and cocaine. Federal law provides for harsh penalties for marijuana-related crimes.
The fact that cannabis is still on this list has led to a discrepancy between federal law and state-level marijuana legalization laws. Many states have already legalized cannabis for medical use, and several states, including Colorado, have allowed recreational marijuana use..
The passage of the law will lead to the cancellation of criminal records of people arrested for using marijuana and a review of sentences handed down to people who are currently in detention on federal cannabis use charges..
In addition, the adoption of the law would allow the introduction of federal regulation and taxation of the industry, similar to how it is done now with respect to alcohol producers..
“This is a historic moment,” said Democratic Party spokeswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who promoted the bill..
Some Republicans argue that the law will encourage the use of marijuana, while other opponents of the bill say it will create a new class of officials to tackle the taxation and regulation of cannabis sales. The federal tax on cannabis, according to the authors of the bill, will be only 5% – this is much lower than the tax on tobacco products.
However, California Republican Tom McLintock decided to back the bill because legalizing and regulating the use and sale of marijuana would take the industry out of the black market now controlled by aggressive illegal producers..
McClintock represents in the House of Representatives the mountainous Sierra Nevada region, where illegal marijuana plantations are guarded by gangs armed to the teeth.
“I think using marijuana is a pretty bad idea. My wife and I never thought of doing this, ”McClintock said before the vote.“ But we have to admit that the (cannabis) ban law has done much more harm. He spawned a violent underground economy. “.