House Panel Pushes Pot Bill for Big Vote

Despite all the hoopla over impeachment hearings in D.C., a congressional committee Nov. 20 approved a bill that would end federal prohibition of marijuana for the first time. 

In advance of a full House vote, the Judiciary Committee voted 24-10 in favor of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement Act

Even if the House OKs the bill, it is expected to have a rough go in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., opposes to any marijuana measures. 

The measure is aimed at decriminalizing marijuana by removing it from the federal list of drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. It would establish a 5 percent sales tax on the cannabis industry to fund the process of expunging the records of people with pot convictions. 

The nation could do the same as some California counties that have expunged records of marijuana crimes and make for them to be resentenced or seek citizenship and federal public benefits, such as housing, if the measure become a federal law.  

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., introduced the bill. It was backed by other Democrats on the committee and Republicans such as California Rep. Tom McClintock and Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz.

Posted Nov. 20, 2019.

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