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U.S. House Poised to Vote For Legalizing Marijuana

The House of Representatives appears ready to pass a bill that would legalize marijuana, with near uniform support among Democrats and a majority of GOP members supporting the legislation, according to The Hill. The bill, titled the Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law (EQUAL) Act also has support from conservative lobbying groups and law enforcement agencies. This near reversal of the Ronald Reagan-era "War on Drugs" policy reflects changing attitudes towards the drug among the majority of Americans. Recent polling from Pew Research found 91 percent of adults believe marijuana should be legal to some extent “What we have seen is that the majority of people now realize that the War on Drugs failed,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR.), co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. “Drugs are more accessible and cheaper and more potent and dangerous. Nobody won this war, except people who were involved with the drug dealers themselves.”


The EQUAL Act follows a series of pro-marijuana reforms passing through Congress. Last year, the House approved passed a bill that would allow cannabis businesses to use banking services and credit cards instead of operating on a cash-only basis. Last Thursday, the Senate passed a measure that would allow scientific and medical cannabis research passed. One reason for the proposed changes; drug laws like those relating to marijuana disproportionately hit minorities. Advocates point to crack cocaine mandatory minimum sentencing disparities as evidence of drug laws being used to target minorities. Crack cocaine, meant to be smoked, is cheaper than its snorted powder counterpart, making it more popular in lower-income, minority communities. More proposed legislation, called the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE) would expunge convictions from marijuana offenders and impose a federal tax on cannabis products to fund communities negatively impacted by strict weed sentencing. It faces resistance from Republicans. Blumenauer said, "I'm optimistic and I'm just really pleased that the House Judiciary Committee moved forward with keeping this front and center.”

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