Why is a bill to decriminalize cannabis across the country unlikely to pass?
As more and more states legalize marijuana, there's an effort to decriminalize the drug nationwide.
A bill called the Marijuana Opportunity and Reinvestment Expungement Act passed in the house just a couple weeks ago. Also known as the MORE Act, it would get rid of the federal criminal penalties for growing, possessing and distributing cannabis. It also would expunge nonviolent marijuana convictions and put a tax on the drug that would be used to help communities impacted by marijuana prohibition.
The one thing it doesn’t do is legalize pot. That would still be left up to the states.
While the bill did pass in the House, supported mostly by Democrats and a few Republicans, the outlook in the Senate is a lot more grim. It would need to be approved by all Democrats and 10 Republican senators. And right now, political watchers say there are just not enough votes.
Instead, Senate Democrats are working on their own version of the bill. While it's similar, it would impose a much higher tax rate on the drug.
So for now, marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug by the federal government. That puts it in the same class as heroin and LSD. Meanwhile cocaine is considered a Schedule II drug.
But public opinion in the U.S. is shifting when it comes to pot. A recent poll from YouGov found 60% of all American adults supported legalizing the drug nationwide.
Note: The following video was uploaded in Jan. 2022.