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Congress Expected To Vote On Cannabis Legalization In September

States would still have to vote to legalize the drug

The House will vote on legalizing marijuananext month.

States would still have to vote to legalize the drug. Marijuana is already legal in 11 states.

The MORE Act would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and erase some cannabis criminal records. The vote will come during the September work period, according to an email Majority Whip Jim Clyburn’s (D-S.C.) office that was sent to members Friday.

The email also asked members to indicate if they would support the MORE Act by Sept. 3.

Why is this important? Neither chamber of Congress has ever voted on removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act.

“A floor vote on the bill would be the greatest federal cannabis reform accomplishment in over 50 years,” said Randal Meyer of the Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce.

What’s the background? Cannabis is a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which was signed into law in 1970. Drugs that are classified as Schedule I are defined as having a high potential for abuse and no medical benefit. Removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act would mean it is no longer illegal at the federal level, but it would not immediately legalize its sale in every state. State and federal agencies would still need to create rules and regulations for the production, marketing and sale of cannabis products, and some states may not allow sales even if the federal ban was removed.

This bill, H.R. 3884 (116), was introduced by House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) last fall and passed the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 24-10 in November. Reps Matt Gaetz (Fla.) and Tom McClintock (Calif.) were the only Republicans on the committee to vote for the bill.

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