A bill decriminalizing marijuana has passed through the House of Representatives, marking the first time that Congress has voted on the issue

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 19: Dave Warden, a bud tender at Private Organic Therapy (P.O.T.), a non-profit co-operative medical marijuana dispensary, displays various types of marijuana available to patients on October 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Attorney General Eric Holder announced new guidelines today for federal prosecutors in states where the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is allowed under state law. Federal prosecutors will no longer trump the state with raids on the southern California dispensaries as they had been doing, but Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley recently began a crackdown campaign that will include raids against the facilities.

Cooley maintains that virtually all marijuana dispensaries are in violation of the law because they profit from their product. The city of LA has been slow to come to agreement on how to regulate its 800 to 1,000 dispensaries. Californians voted to allow sick people with referrals from doctors to consume cannabis with the passage of state ballot Proposition 215 in 1996 and a total of 14 states now allow the medicinal use of marijuana.  A bill decriminalizing marijuana has passed through the House of Representatives, marking the first time that Congress has voted on the issue.

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act or MORE Act would decriminalize cannabis and erase non-violent federal marijuana convictions. With Friday’s vote of 228-164 in favor of the bill, the “legalize marijuana” movement is gaining steam. However, the fate of the MORE Act being passed into law now relies on the Senate. According to a report, “it stands almost no chance” of becoming a law at this moment.

Arun Kurichety of Petalfast, a company that works on marketing, merchandising, and branding cannabis, said the news is more of a “symbolic step in the right direction.”

The passage of the MORE Act is a great step in terms of recognizing the injustices present in the criminal justice system, but unfortunately, this is all largely symbolic as the bill has little chance of passing the Senate – until and unless – the Democrats are able to secure a majority in the Senate.

Nevertheless, the recent vote is vital to move the bill forward — and the American people agree. A new Gallup Poll shows support for the legalization of cannabis is at an all-time high with 68 percent in favor.

Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C. shares some insight below.

Learn more and track the bill’s progress here.

People of color are 4X more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than White people despite equal usage.

They’re also more likely to receive longer & harsher sentences.

The MORE Act takes significant steps to right the wrongs of decades of marijuana criminalization.

— James E. Clyburn (@WhipClyburn) December 5, 2020

Sources: NPR, CNBC Photo by David McNew/Getty Images