Cannabis legalization remains stalled on Capitol Hill
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Marijuana is still not federally legalized despite more than half of U.S. states passing decriminalization laws. Democrats and some Republicans in Congress continue to push legislation that would make decriminalizing cannabis the law of the land.
Nearly every House Democrat and three House Republicans recently voted to pass the MORE Act. It would decriminalize marijuana, something the state of Nevada and 26 other states, and DC, have already done. Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) says it has been a boon to her state.
“It really is a legitimate business and that’s what’s been accepted here in Nevada,” said Titus.
Nevada legalized cannabis for recreational use in 2017. For the 2021 fiscal year the industry generated over $1 billion in taxable sales for the state, which led to over $100 hundred million being transferred to an education fund.
Titus says legitimizing the industry cuts down on crime associated with illegal markets and employs a lot of people in her state.
“It’s not just a little head shop with a picture of Che Guevara in there. This is an industry. They employ chefs, they employ agronomists,” said Titus.
Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV) is not sold on the federal legalization push. He voted against the MORE Act, as did more than 200 of his Republican colleagues. Amodei is still skeptical of Nevada’s law legalizing cannabis.
“It wasn’t my cup of tea, but hey this is what the voters wanted,” said Amodei.
Amodei believes it is too early to tell what impact legalization will have on Nevada despite the revenue generated. He says he has questions about taxation that would come with federal legalization and other issues.
“What are the DUI tests? What does it do to incarceration? What does it do to courts? What does it do to folks who have addictive outcomes from that?” said Amodei.
With a 50-50 split in the Senate it is unclear when or if this legislation will come up for a vote if support for the bill remains along party lines.
Copyright 2022 Gray DC. All rights reserved.