U.S. Congress votes to decriminalize marijuana nationwide
For the first time, U.S. lawmakers voted to decriminalize the drug at the federal level. The initiators are Democrats. Republicans are sharply opposed.
The U.S. House of Representatives on December 4 by a majority vote passed a bill to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, reports television channel NBC. The document now has to go through the approval of the Senate and the President.
The bill removes marijuana from the list of illegal substances, allows businesses to develop in the area, allows doctors to obtain medical appointments to use the drug for medical purposes, and allows the court to overturn previous convictions for marijuana use or possession if the charges are not related to violence.
NBC calls the vote historic because the House of Representatives has never before raised the issue of marijuana legalization at the federal level. There were 222 Democrats and five Republicans voting in favor of the bill. Against – 158 Republicans and six representatives of the Democratic Party.
The authors of the document see it as one way to combat systemic racism in the United States. “For too long the fight against drugs has targeted young people, especially black people, and ignored expert advice,” said Democrat Earl Blumenauer, one of the bill’s sponsors.
Within the last month, several U.S. states approved marijuana legalization measures in one form or another — Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, Mississippi and Montana. Cannabis is legal in 15 states, with another 34 states allowing its use for medical purposes. The new bill would give local authorities more power to regulate marijuana.
Representatives of the Republican Party harshly criticized the bill. As they control the majority in the Senate, the document is not expected to receive approval in the upper house.
The Strategy of State Anti-Drug Policy until 2030, signed by President Vladimir Putin on November 23, states that the legalization of marijuana and other similar drugs in other countries is a threat to Russia’s national security.
The document notes that permission to use cannabis for recreational purposes, the emergence of new types of drugs, the growth of their production in areas of conflict ultimately lead to the expansion of the global drug market. Previously, Putin called for exposing the false information about the “civilized” use of soft drugs.