After decades of debating and lobbying, the House of Representatives voted to legalize marijuana. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act earned rare bipartisan support with Democrats and Republicans both voting for it. If it becomes law, the manufacturing, distribution, and possession of marijuana will have no criminal penalties. Also, previous convictions could be expunged from the record, and cannabis products will be taxed. More Americans Support Legalization A Gallup poll shows that Americans – more than ever – support legal marijuana. 68% of the respondents were in favor, and it was embraced by all political parties and religious affiliations. The breakdown included 50% of Republicans, 71% of Independents, and 83% Democrats. 52% of respondents who attended religious services weekly or monthly and 78% of respondents who attend less frequently support legal marijuana. Many advocacy groups praised the vote, including the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, the Marijuana Policy Project, and the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). Leaders called it “a big step in the right direction” and “in the best interests of our country.” “The time has come for federal lawmakers to put aside partisan differences and recognize that state-level legalization policies are publicly popular, successful, and are in the best interests of our country.” Megan Fox, Political Director, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws “To this day, people across the country are still experiencing the damaging effects of the war on cannabis, while others are profiting in the industry. Following today’s action in the House, it is now time for the U.S. Senate to follow suit and take up the MORE Act.” Toi Hutchinson, President/CEO, The Marijuana Policy Project “We are thankful that the House continues to pursue sensible cannabis policy reforms and is once again moving on this important bill. While the MORE Act lacks the robust regulatory structure we would like to see in a comprehensive descheduling bill, it represents the increasing support for ending prohibition among both lawmakers and the American public, not to mention the current policies of dozens of states around the country. This bill would be a huge improvement on the status quo and is helping to further the conversation about what effective federal cannabis policy looks like. Removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act is absolutely necessary, and the MORE Act would be a big step in the right direction for restorative justice and making sure that small businesses and members of marginalized communities who have been disproportionately harmed by prohibition can benefit from the opportunities created by regulated cannabis markets.” Aaron Smith, Co-Founder/CEO, National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) So What Happens Next? To pass the Senate, the MORE Act will need to receive 60 votes, and it will likely require bipartisan support again. Similar efforts have failed to pass the Senate before, so it is yet to be seen if public opinion has shifted enough to propel the MORE Act into law. If it were to happen, however, it would mean major changes for the cannabis market across the country. Readers, we want to hear from you! Are you following the progress of the MORE Act? Is the United States ready for legalized marijuana? Leave a comment below, and let us know what you think!