WASHINGTON — The House just voted to decriminalize cannabis, a historic symbolic moment marking Congress’ belated move toward embracing the views held by a large majority of Americans.
The House voted to pass the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act on Friday, the first time either chamber of Congress has ever voted on marijuana decriminalization.
The final vote was 228-164, with most Democrats joined by 5 Republicans and an independent to pass the legislation. Most Republicans and six Democrats opposed the bill.
The bill is a major symbolic victory for marijuana rights advocates and criminal justice reform. But it’s likely not going anywhere anywhere soon: Senate Republicans have indicated there’s no appetite to pass the measure.
While federal law on marijuana has been largely stagnant in recent decades, voters have been moving hard towards support of legalization across the country. Voters in four more states voted to legalize marijuana in the 2020 election—Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota—bringing the total number of states where marijuana is legal to 15, both red and blue states. Fully 38 states now allow medical marijuana, something that is still illegal at the federal