House passes bill to decriminalize marijuana

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed narrowly legislation Thursday to decriminalize marijuana.

The legislation passed in a largely party-line 220-204 vote, with just three Republicans joining with Democrats to support the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act.

“There’s so many discussions that have gone on over the years about the use of marijuana or cannabis or whatever. The fact is, it exists. It’s being used. We’ve got to address how it is treated legally,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday during her weekly news conference, ABC News reported.

So what, exactly, does the bill do? The New York Times summed it up like this:

“The Democrats’ bill would remove marijuana from the federal government’s list of controlled substances, impose an 8 percent tax on cannabis products, allow some convictions on cannabis charges to be expunged and press for sentencing reviews at the federal and state levels. It would also make Small Business Administration loans and services available to cannabis businesses while setting standards for them.”

House Democrats framed the legislation as part of their efforts to roll back the War on Drugs.

Some House Republicans, however, argued that continuing to legalize marijuana would be more harmful than its proponents claim.

“We have rising violent crime in Democrat-run cities across the country, more drug use won’t help that. We have 100,000 Americans die of overdoses last year, the leading cause of death in Americans ages 18 to 45,” Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Good said, according to the Washington Examiner. “More drug use won’t help that.”

“Our government schools and our education systems are failing us,” he added. “More drug use won’t help that.

“But in fact, this legislation has no prohibitions on edible forms of marijuana, flavored vape products, or other efforts to target specifically teens and young people.”

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan said Democrats are focusing on this issue instead of other, more urgent topics.

“The left will not let the Democrats do what needs to be done with the inflation problem, the energy problem, the illegal immigration problem on the southern border,” he said. “So what do they do? They legalize drugs. Wow.”

The legislation is not likely to pass the Senate, considering it needs 60 votes to proceed in the upper chamber of Congress.