Congressional Democrats have largely spent the last three years trying to slow down and stop President Donald Trump’s agenda.
This endless partisan battle is not good for the American people, because it creates political gridlock and nothing meaningful gets passed.
But something unusual happened this week: several prominent Republicans joined Democrats to vote in favor of an issue that many in the country view as controversial.
A bill to legalize marijuana at the federal level officially passed the House Judiciary Committee this week, marking the first time in U.S. history that a House panel voted to legalize pot.
New York Democrat Rep. Jerry Nadler introduced the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would decriminalize and legalize marijuana in all 50 states.
The MORE Act passed the committee 24–10, with two Republicans — Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Tom McClintock of California — siding with Democrats.
The bill could potentially pass in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, which would be historical.
But it will likely face a tough road in the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate.
As noted by U.S. News & World Report, here’s some information on the bill and what it would do if passed:
The bill would decriminalize marijuana and remove it from the federal controlled substances list, basically making marijuana legal across the country.
Drawing from social justice critiques of drug prohibition, it also calls to expunge federal convictions related to marijuana use and instate a 5% tax on marijuana sales to encourage minority communities to start marijuana businesses.
The report goes on to detail how legalizing marijuana is slowly becoming an issue for 2020 candidates:
The legalization movement has gained traction in recent years as a social justice issue.
Many leftists argue that minorities have been disproportionately affected by drug prohibition, and legalization has become virtually party dogma for Democratic candidates seeking the presidency.
As a sign of how relaxed attitudes on drug use have become, Democrat 2020 hopeful Cory Booker (NJ) drew laughs from debate watchers Wednesday night when he joked that Joe Biden must have been “high” to continue opposing legalization.
Biden’s stance — decriminalization without legalization — marks him as something of a political dinosaur in a party that has come to view legalization as a common-sense proposal.
Legalizing marijuana has been a very controversial issue, and things could get even more heated if it becomes a main issue in the election.
Recent polling — which doesn’t always tend to be accurate — reflects dramatic shifts in public opinion.
A recent poll from the Pew Research Center found that roughly two-thirds of Americans support marijuana legalization.
By comparison, most Americans opposed it 10 years ago.
Polling also seems to indicate that a decent amount of people see both pros and cons with legalizing marijuana.
Some support medical use to help mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Others are in favor of legalization because it would provide substantial tax revenue to states.
And then some are just flat-out against it, arguing that it’s a “gateway drug,” will increase criminality, would negatively alter America’s culture, and would have harmful effects on young kids who may move on to more hardcore drugs.
Time will tell what happens next and whether the measure gains any traction in Congress.
What do you think? Tell us in the comment section below your thoughts on the issue and how you feel about it.