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House votes to decriminalize marijuana at federal level | News – Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri 2020-12-04 14:37:48 –

Washington (AP) — Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on Friday approves a bill to denounce and tax marijuana at the federal level, overturning the failed policy of supporters criminalizing pot use and enacting federal drug law Measures were taken to address racial disparities in Japan.

Opponents, mostly Republicans, called the bill a hollow political gesture and ridiculed Democrats for raising it when thousands of Americans were dying in a coronavirus pandemic.

“With all the challenges America is facing right now, (Republicans) think COVID bailouts should be on the floor, but instead Democrats put cats and cannabis on the floor of the House of Representatives.” House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Caliph, said. “They are picking weeds more than workers. They are choosing marijuana (providing) the very necessary money we need to move forward to deal with the pandemic.

McCarthy’s comment on cats referred to another bill approved by the House of Representatives to ban private ownership of large cats such as lions and tigers. This is a step backed by the Netflix series “Tiger King”. The bill, approved by the House of Representatives on Thursday, bans most public contact with animals, although most private zoos keep tigers and other species.

The Democratic Party said it could work on COVID-19 bailouts and marijuana reforms at the same time, and said the House of Representatives passed a slumping pandemic bailout bill in the Senate in May.

Proponents say the pot bill ends decades of the “war on drugs” by removing marijuana, or cannabis from the list of federal-controlled drugs, while allowing the state to set its own rules for pots. It is said to be useful for making people. The bill will also use money from a new excise tax on marijuana to address the needs of groups and communities affected by the so-called Mexican Drug War and to provide federal marijuana convictions and eradication of arrests.

“We have long considered marijuana as a matter of personal choice and public health,” said Jerry Nadler (DN.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a key sponsor of the House Judiciary Committee. I have treated it as a matter of criminal justice. ” Invoice. “Whatever your views on the use of marijuana for entertainment or medicinal purposes, federal arrest, prosecution and imprisonment policies have proven unwise and unjustified.”

Proponents of drug reform, whose House vote is called historic, pointed out that it was the first time a comprehensive law to decriminalize marijuana had passed the House or the entire Senate.

“Criminalization of marijuana is the basis of a racist war against drugs. Even after a decade of reform victories, one person was arrested almost every minute last year just for possession of marijuana. “Marica Perez, director of national affairs for the drug policy alliance, an advocacy group, said. “Today, House has taken the most powerful step in tackling its shameful heritage.”

Voting takes place when most Americans somehow live in states where marijuana is legal, and lawmakers from both parties agree that the country’s cannabis policy is terribly behind changes at the state level. Did. That disparity has caused many problems. For example, it is difficult for many marijuana companies to take out loans and other banking services because pots remain illegal at the federal level.

Four states, including New Jersey and Arizona, have passed a referendum this year to allow recreational cannabis. Voters have made Oregon the first state in the country to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.

Republican Rep. Barbara Lee called the House bill an important measure of racial justice. “It’s a big step towards ending an unfair war against drugs and racial inequality, which are at the heart of these laws,” said Lee, an African-American.

The bill, which passed 228-164, is currently being submitted to the Republican-controlled Senate and is unlikely to move forward. A related bill that gives pot companies access to traditional banking services has been sluggish in the Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives last year.

Five Republicans endorsed the bill: Florida’s Matt Gaetz and Brian Mast. Tom McClintock of California, Denver Wriggleman of Virginia, Don Young of Alaska.

Six Democrats opposed it: Cheri Bustos and Daniel Lipinski of Illinois. Collin Peterson, Minnesota. Crispapas, New Hampshire; Connorlam, Pennsylvania; Henry Cuellar, Texas.

Louisiana Republican Republican Steve Scalise said GOP has been pushing for weeks to submit a bill that would allow small businesses to get loans for another paycheck protection program. Many SMEs are struggling or closing as a result of a pandemic.

Instead of allowing votes on the Republican bill, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Caliph, “is actually more focused on legalizing cannabis,” Scallis said. “How incredible Tone deaf (Democrats) are for these small businesses, their jobs, and the families they connect with.”

Senate leader Mitch McConnell also ridiculed the bill, saying in a floor speech: “The House of Representatives is spending this week on pressing issues like marijuana. As you know, it’s a serious and important law for this national crisis.”

The Big Cat Public Security Act is also unlikely to move forward in the Senate. R-Texas Senator Ted Cruz tweeted that Democrats are moving to the “Prosecute Tiger King” rather than addressing issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, Carol Baskin, whose animal rescue organization is featured in the Netflix series, said the law would end the abuse of tiger cubs and other big cats and protect the general public and first responders from injury and death. He said it would be the culmination of decades of effort to achieve.

“Neither of these important goals are partisan, and we hope the Senate will follow suit quickly and be legislated,” said Baskin, CEO and founder of Florida-based Big Cat Rescue. I am.

Copyright 2020 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

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