Lawmakers in Washington late last week passed a bill through the House that would see marijuana declassified at the federal level.

“The criminalization of marijuana is inherently racist in its enforcement, unscientific in its foundation, and out of step with public opinion and the law in 18 states,” U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark said in a release after the bill’s passage.

Called the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE) Act, the proposed law would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, require federal courts to expunge prior marijuana convictions, open small business administration funding to pot businesses and authorize a 5% federal tax on marijuana sales.

“This antiquated federal policy holds back Black and brown communities while hampering our economy and overburdening our criminal justice system,” Clark said.

According to law enforcement studies, people of color are arrested for marijuana possession at nearly four times the rate of their white counterparts despite equal rates of use. Those same thoughts were echoed by U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley.

“Proud to support the #MOREAct in the House today & move us closer to ending the failed war on drugs that has ravaged Black & brown communities,” she said in a tweet.

The bill passed with a 220-204 vote, mostly along party lines. Democratic Reps. Chris Pappas of New Hampshire and Henry Cuellar of Texas voted against it, while Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz and Brain Mast of Florida, and Todd McClintock of Texas voted in favor.

A similar bill passed the House in 2020, but the Senate refused to take up the bill.

Now that Democrats control both chambers, things aren’t looking any better. The 50-50 split in the Senate means that at least 10 Republicans would have to be on board to send the bill to President Biden’s desk.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has consistently voiced his opposition to the idea of legalization.

“China has been steadily building up its military and economic might, and the Democrats’ answer is to help Americans get high,” the Kentucky senator said in February.

Still, Pew research indicates that support for marijuana legalization, in some form, now stands at 91%, with one in three Americans now living in a state where marijuana use is legal for adults.

Original story HERE