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The United States may soon be loosening its laws on cannabis. In December 2020, the House will be deciding a bill to remove federal penalties on marijuana, according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s letter sent to his colleagues on November 9.
In the letter, Hoyer defined the legislative schedule for the lame-duck session in November and December. A lame-duck session is an informal term used when Congress reconvenes on an even-numbered year — immediately following an election. Some lawmakers may not have been reelected and will not return for the next year’s session.
Hoyer also stated the hope for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE) is to legitimize “cannabis and expunge convictions for non-violent cannabis offenses that have prevented many Americans from getting jobs, applying for credit and loans.”
He further stated that legitimizing cannabis could give the economy a boost. The letter did not specifically lay out what each week will look like. However, the House is on the calendar for December 1 through the 4 and December 7 to the 10.
The House was originally scheduled to vote on the MORE Act back in September. However, some of the Democrats felt voters would not take kindly to it — due to them not agreeing on a second COVID-19 stimulus package.
At that time, Hoyer promised the bill would be placed back on the table after the election. Cannabis has been making extreme headway throughout the years in the U.S. According to Gallup, over a third of Americans now live in states where marijuana is legal.
They also stated that 68 percent of those people support the legalization of marijuana on a federal level. As of June 25, 2019, roughly 12 states had legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. There are roughly 20 states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.
After this year’s election, five more states can be added to the list to legalize marijuana. Cannabis Caucus Co-chair Representative Barbara Lee stated that Congress needs to catch up with Americans’ laws.
Many Americans believe that it is about time for marijuana to be legal on a federal level.
Written by Sheena Robertson
Politico: House will vote on cannabis legalization bill in December; Natalie Fertig
U.S. Senate: Glossary Term | “Lame Duck” Session
Governing: State Marijuana Laws in 2019 Map
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Inline Image Courtesy of Thomas Elliott’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License