The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on marijuana legalization at the federal level today, the first time either chamber of Congress has voted on the matter.
The bill is likely to pass the chamber, but the U.S. Senate is unlikely to take up the legislation in the last two weeks Congress is in session this year, according to an article in USA Today.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and expunge some marijuana-related criminal records. It would still be up to states to pass their own regulations on the sale of marijuana.
Nadler told USA TODAY in September the vote on the bill would be a “historic vote” as the federal government put an end to its “40-year, very misguided crusade” against marijuana.
He highlighted provisions in the MORE Act that fund community programs to benefit people previously convicted of marijuana-related offenses. He said the provisions were about “making people whole from harms suffered directly as a result of the marijuana ban,” which he said disproportionately affected racial minorities.
Advocates see the vote as a part of a move toward “justice.”
“With this vote, Congress is recognizing the disproportionate impact enforcement has had on our communities and calling for the unjust status quo to be disrupted,” said Maritza Perez, director of the office of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, a group advocating for the decriminalization of drugs.