The house passed a historic piece of legislation yesterday after the MORE Act of 2019 passed the United States House by a vote of 228-164. The MORE Act, federally decriminalizes cannabis at the federal level, expunge federal marijuana convictions and arrests, and issue a federal tax of 5% on marijuana purchases and gradually increase the rate to 8% after five years.
The passage of the bill mostly fell on party lines except for five Republicans voting in favor of the bill (Gaetz-FL, Young-AK, Mast-MI, Riggleman-VA, & McClintock-CA), one Libertarian(Amash-MI), and six Democrats voted against the bill (Golden-ME, Lamb-PA, Lipiniski-IL, Bustos-IL, Cellular-TX, Peterson-MN, & Pappas-NH).
Marijuana legislation has been riding a green wave this year as five states voted last month to legalize marijuana in some capacity in their states. Arizona, Montana, South Dakota, and New Jersey legalized recreational marijuana and Mississippi and South Dakota legalized medical marijuana. Marijuana legalizing has slowly evolved into one of the most popular issues for voters across the country no matter their affiliation or region, and now 15 states have legalized recreational marijuana and 35 States have legalized medical marijuana.
The bill faces stiff challenges in the senate and the only chance for its passage will hinge on the Georgia senate runoffs on January 5th. Meanwhile, our neighbors to the north legalized cannabis three years ago, and our neighbor to the south is on the verge of legalizing cannabis this year with a floor vote coming before the end of the year.