For the first time in history, the US House of Representatives has passed a bill to decriminalise cannabis at the national level.
The House of Representatives, also known as the lower house, are responsible for all legislature across America alongside the Senate, otherwise known as the upper house.
In a progressive move for the country, the bill requests that marijuana should be removed from the list of federally controlled substances and erased from certain federal convictions.
Simply, it would be legal to use weed and there would be no criminal consequence.
Currently, each of the 50 states holds an individual stance on the matter, meaning in some areas of the United States you could be charged whereas others you are able to use it.
For example, in California it is legal both recreationally and medicinally as well as to cultivate up to six plants for personal use or with a commercial license to sell to others.
Meanwhile, over in Texas it is illegal other than the use of CBD oil containing no more than 0.5% THC [tetrahydrocannabinol] – the chemical responsible for psychoactive effects.
In total, fifteen states and the District of Columbia allow the recreational use of cannabis by anyone over the age of 21. In contrast, 38 states approve its use for medicinal purposes only.
The bill would wipe out these isolated laws to make one blanket rule across the nation.
Known as the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement [MORE] Act, the bill would need to be approved by Senate and signed by the President to be authorised.
As well as legalising the drug, the bill supports reinvesting funds into local communities; removing federal criminal records of those charged or convicted for non-violent cannabis offenses; and providing cannabis business owners easier access to grants or loans.
Speaking about the initiative, Democrat Earl Blumenauer – founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus and original sponsor of the bill – said he hopes to create significant change.
Blumenauer explained: “We’re not rushing to legalise marijuana. The American people have already done that.
“We’re here because Congress has failed to deal with the disastrous war on drugs and do its part for the over 50million regular marijuana users in every one of your districts.”
We wonder how long it will take the UK to follow in the same footsteps…