Is Marijuana Coming to a Store Near You?
The debate arises every few years about whether or not marijuana should be legalized or decriminalized.
Several states have already passed laws in some form or fashion. Currently, there are 18 states that have fully legalized it with many others that have decriminalized it and allowed for medical exceptions.
Now, a bill just passed in the House which would make marijuana legal. In a 220-204 vote, the House of Representatives passed the MORE Act to legalize the drug.
So, the question then becomes what will happen once the bill reaches the Senate? Will they vote for it or against it?
I don’t think the answer is straight forward and I think that it could honestly go either way. The Senate is divided down the middle so if any Democrats vote no, or if and Republicans vote yes, then you’ll end up with your conclusion.
So, is there anything that leads us to believe that either party will depart from their party’s vote and go the other way?
Mark Jones, a professor of political science at Rice University says the MORE Act will likely pass in the House, but not in the Senate.
“When it goes to the Senate, it’s probably dead on arrival for two principal reasons. First, it needs 10 Republicans to support it if all of the Democrats do so and right now, the votes aren’t there,” said Jones.
He added that Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer is not very keen on the MORE Act since he has his own marijuana decriminalization legislation to bring out later this year.
Jones says he suspects there are three or four Republican senators in favor of this legislation, but it will still not be enough for it to pass.
However, Jones said there has been a shift and there are a growing number of Republicans getting on board with decriminalizing marijuana.
“Republicans tend to support the decriminalization of marijuana either for fiscal reasons that is less government and more tax dollars from it, or from a libertarian perspective that the government shouldn’t be involved in these types of personal decisions,” said Jones.
So, if Chuck Schumer is against the bill, he’ll be able to rally some of his loyalists to back him on it so that he can push his own bill later this year instead.
I do think that at some point, one of these bills will pass and marijuana will be legalized or decriminalized. I don’t know what they’ll do about the prior convictions though.