The U.S. House of Representative is scheduled this week to take up legislation to legalize marijuana federally, a landmark step that could mark the first time a full congressional chamber has voted to end the federal government’s MJ prohibition.
The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act and open up the industry to multibillion-dollar business opportunities and interstate commerce over time.
But a yes vote would be largely symbolic unless Democrats win control of the U.S. Senate through two runoff Senate races in Georgia on Jan. 5.
Even if the Democrats sweep the Georgia runoff, many believe it’s unlikely the Senate – which generally has older and more conservative members – would pass such a measure in the next legislative session.
Lawmakers are scheduled to debate and possibly vote either Thursday or Friday on the MORE Act, according to a schedule released by the office of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland.
“By advancing the MORE Act, the House of Representatives sends an unmistakable signal that America is ready to close the book on marijuana prohibition and end the senseless oppression and fear that this failed policy wreaks on otherwise law-abiding citizens,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said in a statement.
“Americans are ready to responsibly legalize and regulate marijuana, and this vote shows some lawmakers are finally listening.”