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After postponing a proposed September vote, the full U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote in December on a bill that would effectively legalize marijuana federally by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act.
According to Politico, the House Democratic leadership is preparing for a vote on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019.
In addition to legalizing marijuana federally, the legislation would allow states to continue to choose how to regulate a commercial MJ industry.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer sent a letter to colleagues outlining the legislative schedule for November and December.
The letter said the House would vote on the bill but didn’t specify exactly which day in December. The House is in session Dec. 1-4 and Dec. 7-10.
“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 wrote in the letter, according to Politico.
Even if the MORE Act is approved, the vote would be largely symbolic. The Republican-controlled Senate isn’t expected to take up the bill and a new Congress will convene in 2021. Moreover, former Vice President Joe Biden will become president.
Originally scheduled for a September vote, some Democrats in close elections balked at voting on the MORE Act amid concerns that voters might question the importance of legalizing marijuana when Congress had failed to agree on a coronavirus aid package.
But in the November election, five more states legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana, and a recent poll shows cannabis legalization is more popular than ever.