Those who use marijuana may be able to enjoy 4/20 a bit more this year, considering the news that will give them more of a reason to really relax. On April 15, 2022, the House re-passed the The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, which means we’re one step closer to the federal decriminalization of marijuana. The momentum leading up to Friday’s verdict was in keeping with a growing trend of decriminalized smoking in many states, and met with applause by House speaker Nancy Pelosi, who noted, “I’m all for it”.
While everything is still contingent upon a 60-vote senate win, Democrats are hopeful after a bipartisan win of 220-204 vote in the House. This means there’s a great chance that marijuana will no longer be considered a controlled substance under federal law. It could also jumpstart access to perks provided by the Small Business Administration, in addition to the expunging of non-violent cannabis convictions.
The MORE Act could also help obliterate unfair sentencing within the Black community. For decades, people have pointed out that Black people receive heftier sentencing for marijuana than those who engaged in more serious offenses. According to a 2020 report conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union, Black people are 3.37 times more likely to be jailed for marijuana than whites.
Decriminalization could also lead to new opportunities for jobs within the booming cannabis industry and a push for more marijuana-based medical treatments. It also won’t be so easy to eliminate Black candidates for job positions that they deserve.
With marijuana being a part of popular culture, removing underlying forces within the legal system is an opportunity for Black people to be privy to the perks white consumers, and distributers, have enjoyed. Often the relationship that we have with marijuana is a social and cultural one, and not indicative of our potential or performance. This progressive and future-oriented legislation could be a win, especially for us.