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Legalizing Cannabis

On April 1, by a vote of 220-204, the House passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, legislation to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level.  By decriminalizing cannabis at the federal level, experts say the bill would eliminate the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws. The bill would also establish procedures for expunging previous convictions from people’s records and impose a tax on the sale of cannabis products. The tax would begin at 5 percent and eventually increase to 8 percent. Funding raised through the tax would go toward providing job training, mentoring, substance-use treatment, legal aid, re-entry services and youth recreation programs. It would also provide loans to help small businesses in the cannabis industry that are “owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.” Senate Majority Leader Schumer has been working with Senators Wyden and Booker to craft similar legislation, but the prospects of passing a bill in the Senate appears unlikely because of the lack of support by Republicans.