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The U.S. House of Representatives’ long-awaited vote to federally decriminalize marijuana is expected to come in December.
Lawmakers were originally expected to vote on the the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act in September. The historic vote would be the biggest move for marijuana legalization ever taken by Congress.
The legislation would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, expunge some criminal records, allow for more testing and research of the substance, and create funding for people and communities impacted by the War on Drugs. However, moderate Democrats decided to postpone the vote to focus instead on COVID-19 relief.
In a Nov. 9 letter, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said the House will look at the legislation sometime in December during President Donald Trump's lame-duck session.
"The House will vote on the MORE Act to decriminalize cannabis and expunge convictions for non-violent cannabis offenses that have prevented many Americans from getting jobs, applying for credit and loans, and accessing opportunities that make it possible to get ahead in our economy," Hoyer said in the letter.
The MORE Act was sponsored by Senator and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. President-elect Joe Biden has indicated that he supports cannabis decriminalization but has come short of calling for it to be legalized.
Following Tuesday's election, 15 states and the District of Columbia have now legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and another 16 have decriminalized it. The majority of voters support legalization.
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