cloudyn.png
Tuesday August 16th, 2022 9:28PM

House votes to decriminalize marijuana, but Senate fate dim

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Marijuana would be decriminalized at the federal level under legislation the House approved Friday as Democrats made the case for allowing states to set their own policies on pot.

The bill is unlikely to become law since it is expected to die in the Senate. That would mirror what happened when a similar House-passed measure removing marijuana from the list of federally-controlled substances went nowhere in the Senate two years ago.

Still, Friday's vote gave lawmakers the chance to state their view on a decriminalization push that appears to have broad support with voters across the country.

The 2020 election showed how broadly accepted marijuana has become, with measures to legalize recreational pot breezing to victory in progressive New Jersey, moderate Arizona and conservative Montana and South Dakota.

The House approved the bill Friday with a mostly party-line vote of 220-204. All but two voting Democrats backed the measure, while only three Republicans did.

The measure would require federal courts to expunge prior marijuana convictions and conduct resentencing hearings for those completing their sentences. It also authorizes a 5% tax on marijuana and marijuana products that would gradually increase to 8% over five years. The money would be used for grant programs focused on job training, legal aid, substance abuse treatment and loans to help disadvantaged small businesses get into the marijuana industry.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that thousands of inmates would be released earlier than under current law, saving about $800 million over a 10-year period. Overall, the federal deficit would be reduced by nearly $3 billion over the next decade.

Democrats said the nation's federal prohibition on marijuana has had particularly devastating consequences for minority communities. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., cited statistics that showed Black Americans were four times more likely than white Americans to be arrested for marijuana possession, even though they use it at similar rates.

“Those criminal records can haunt people of color and impact the trajectory of their lives indefinitely," Hoyer said. “I regret that there are some members of our Congress who apparently think that's not worthy of attention."

“Make no mistake, yes, it is a racial justice bill," said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.

Republicans who opposed the measure said marijuana is a gateway drug that would lead to greater use of opioids and other dangerous substances. They also said the pot sold today is far more potent than what was sold decades ago, leading to greater impairment for those who use it. They said decriminalization is not the priority that lawmakers should be focused on now, with the war in Ukraine and inflation driving up the cost of gas, food and other essential items.

“Yet the priority of this Congress now turns to expanding access to addictive, behavior-altering recreational drugs at a time when our country is also experiencing increased addiction, depression and suicide," said Rep. Bob Good, R-Va.

Thirty-seven states and District of Columbia allow the medical use of cannabis products while 18 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“If states are the laboratories of democracy, it is long past time for the federal government to recognize that legalization has been a resounding success and that the conflict with federal law has become untenable," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

In the Senate, Democrats including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York asked colleagues in early February for their input on a marijuana decriminalization bill. He said after the House vote that they were still working on crafting the legislation, but he hoped it would be introduced “very soon."

“Of course, we will need Republicans to pass a legalization bill in the Senate, and we will be working hard to try and get them," Schumer said.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Iowa court upholds gender identity discrimination case
The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld much of a 2019 jury verdict that found the state discriminated against a transgender prison employee by denying him the use of men’s restrooms and locker rooms
2:04PM ( 5 minutes ago )
House votes to decriminalize marijuana, but Senate fate dim
The House has approved a bill decriminalizing marijuana and letting states set their own policies on pot
1:58PM ( 11 minutes ago )
COVID-19 asylum limits at US-Mexico border to end May 23
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's ending a policy that limited asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent the spread of COVID-19
1:54PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Census records from 1950 could solve some family mysteries
The first-ever publication of 1950 census records promises to solve some family mysteries for amateur genealogists and family historians
1:36PM ( 33 minutes ago )
Politically charged US-Iran in first Middle East World Cup
The most controversial World Cup ever will feature in Qatar the most politically charged matchups
1:35PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Oscars producer says police offered to arrest Will Smith
Oscars producer Will Packer says Los Angeles police were ready to arrest Will Smith after Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Academy Awards
1:31PM ( 38 minutes ago )
AP National News
Officer killed in Pennsylvania was 1 month from retirement
Authorities say a police lieutenant killed on duty in Pennsylvania was one month away from retirement when a man suspected of breaking into a family member’s home opened fire on responding officers
12:36PM ( 1 hour ago )
Jury hearing closing arguments in Gov. Whitmer kidnap trial
Jurors are hearing closing arguments in the trial of four men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
11:49AM ( 2 hours ago )
$14M jury award for protesters could resonate around US
A federal jury’s $14 million award to Denver protesters injured during 2020 demonstrations over the police killing of George Floyd could resonate nationwide as courts weigh more than two dozen similar lawsuits
10:23AM ( 3 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Vulnerable Dems plead with Biden to delay reopening asylum
The Biden administration’s decision to end sweeping asylum limits at the border this May satisfied demands by prominent Democrats
12:46PM ( 1 hour ago )
Will Trump be charged for Jan. 6? Committee floats crimes
The Senate acquitted former President Donald Trump last year of inciting the Capitol insurrection
12:38PM ( 1 hour ago )
UK opens criminal probe into P&O Ferries over crew firings
Britain has launched a criminal investigation has begun into P&O Ferries after the company fired almost 800 U.K.-based crew without warning so they could be replaced by cheaper contract staff
11:43AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
NCAA president decries pace of basketball investigations
NCAA President Mark Emmert says investigations into allegations of major violations against several high-profile men’s college basketball programs have taken “way too long.”
7:50AM ( 6 hours ago )
Live updates | EU proposes exchange of Ukraine bank notes
The European Union’s executive arm is proposing that the 27-nation bloc’s countries allow the millions of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine to exchange their hryvnia banknotes into the currencies of host member nations
6:51AM ( 7 hours ago )
Ukraine war tops agenda at EU-China summit
The European Union is seeking China’s assurances that it won’t assist Russia in circumventing economic sanctions leveled over the invasion of Ukraine
5:43AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Iowa court upholds gender identity discrimination case
The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld much of a 2019 jury verdict that found the state discriminated against a transgender prison employee by denying him the use of men’s restrooms and locker rooms
2:04PM ( 6 minutes ago )
COVID-19 asylum limits at US-Mexico border to end May 23
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's ending a policy that limited asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent the spread of COVID-19
1:54PM ( 15 minutes ago )
MASTERS '22: Trivia quiz covering nearly 90 years at Augusta
Who was the first Masters champion
1:46PM ( 24 minutes ago )
New vehicles must average 40 mpg by 2026, up from 28 mpg
New vehicles sold in the U.S. will have to average at least 40 miles per gallon of gasoline in 2026 under new rules unveiled by the government
1:44PM ( 25 minutes ago )
MASTERS '22: Hole-by-hole detail with best shots at Augusta
The Masters starts Thursday, and the course at Augusta National is among the most famous in the world because it hosts the only major held in the same place
1:41PM ( 28 minutes ago )