The House of Representatives will vote on a bill to legalize marijuana

Connecticut became the 19th state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

Photo: KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images

The House of Representatives will vote on Friday a bill to legalize marijuana throughout the country, an effort that has unprecedented levels of support in both houses of Congress.

The bill is likely to pass the House largely along party lines, with most Republicans expected to oppose it.

Proponents of marijuana legalization argue that legalize marijuana at the federal level it will simply reflect the existing policies of most states that allow it in some form.

Senator Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader, commented, “Many Americans live in states where cannabis is legal for adult recreational use. It is time for the federal government to catch up. Comprehensive federal cannabis reform with equity for communities most affected by the War on Drugs is a Senate priority.”

The marijuana legalization project is also framed as a way to end the disproportionate punishment of racial minorities and people in low-income communities for possessing and using marijuana.

And with an overwhelming majority of Americans (up to 91% in a Pew research poll last year) who support the legalization of marijuana at least for medical purposesDemocrats think it’s a winning issue for them ahead of the November midterms.

The bill, titled the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Elimination (MORE) Act, would eliminate criminal penalties associated with the drug and would establish a process to expunge prior convictions from people’s criminal records.

What’s more, would impose a federal tax on marijuana sales to fund programs aimed at helping communities negatively affected by the policies of the so-called “war on drugs” that began in the 1970s.

Friday’s vote will mark the second time House Democrats have advanced legislation to decriminalize marijuana, after previously approving the measure in December 2020.

But the latest effort failed to gain traction in the Senate, which was controlled by Republicans at the time.

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