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US House Passes Historic Marijuana Legalization Bill
At 1:13pm Eastern Time, the United States House of Representatives made history.
That’s the official recorded vote tally on House Resolution 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment & Expungement Act.
The MORE Act removes marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances, turning control over cannabis to the states to regulate as they see fit. The Act also expunges prior federal criminal records for marijuana crimes and establishes a federal sales tax on marijuana in the states where it is sold legally, the proceeds from which would be invested in programs to repair harms to communities devastated by the War on Drugs.
This marks the first day since the beginning of US marijuana prohibition in 1937 that federal lawmakers have moved to end the criminality of cannabis consumers.
The MORE Act moves to the Republican-held Senate, where it is not expected to be heard. The future of The MORE Act now rests on two January Georgia Senate runoff elections, where Democrats could win both and secure a 50–50 partisan tie, broken by incoming Vice President Harris. President-elect Joe Biden has signaled a willingness to decriminalize marijuana, but has authored a plan that would only downgrade cannabis to Schedule II, which would still criminalize non-medical possession of marijuana.
New York Assembly Minority Leader Touts 2021 Marijuana Legalization
WWNY-TV news on Wednesday spoke with New York State Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay on the prospects for marijuana legalization in the 2021 session.
Will Barclay: “There’s still back and forth but I suspect this year, this will actually get done. I think it just got pushed off because of COVID last year.”
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said last month that she also anticipates that the reform will advance next year.
Andrea Stewart-Cousins: “The conversation has always been what happens to the revenues, how do we include disparately impacted communities in the economy of this industry?”
Gov. Cuomo said in November he expects the legislature to finally legalize marijuana in the upcoming legislative session because the state needs the money.
New York faces a budget gap of billions of dollars in 2021 because of COVID.
National Cancer Institute Hosts Cannabis Symposium
Today is the deadline to register for the National Cancer Institute’s Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Research Symposium, to be held virtually on December 15–18.
“This workshop will highlight the state of the science in cannabis, its chemical constituents (e.g., cannabinoids) and cancer research, including cancer epidemiology, use in cancer patients, cancer biology and prevention, pre-clinical and clinical cancer symptom and treatment side-effect management, as well as the use of cannabis and cannabinoids as cancer therapeutics,” according to the NCI as reported by Marijuana Moment.
Scheduled sessions include panels on potential clinical implications of marijuana legalization efforts, risks and benefits of cannabis use for cancer patients, the function of the endocannabinoid system as it concerns cancer-related pain and how marijuana affects appetite, nausea, vomiting and neuropathic pain in patients.
Register online today at events.cancer.gov.
NBA to Nix Cannabis Drug Testing for 2021 Basketball Season
Sources report that the National Basketball Association is leaning toward the suspension of random testing for marijuana metabolites in the urine of its professional players for the upcoming basketball season.
NBA writer Ben Dowsett tweets that the suspension is due to concerns about limiting exposure of players to others during the COVID–19 pandemic, but that the move could signal broader acceptance by the Association of the widespread use of recreational and medical marijuana by players and Americans at large.
ESPN notes that there remain only six states — Indiana, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin — that host at least one of the four major professional sports franchises that still maintain prohibition on medical uses of cannabis.
Dowsett clarifies that while random testing is out, for-cause drug testing will still be in effect for players who are reasonably suspected of marijuana use.
New Jersey to Add “Social Equity Tax” to Marijuana Purchases
Lawmakers in New Jersey are seeking to add a “social equity excise fee” that would fund programs that work to offset racial and drug-related disparities.
FOX Business reports that the legislation initially called for a 6.625% state tax on marijuana sales, but the amount was raised to 7% last month.
The chambers are still divided on what percentage of tax revenue should go toward the programs: The Senate has proposed directing all of the social equity fee and 70% of all sales tax revenue toward such initiatives, while the Assembly would only direct sales tax toward the programs.