Nov 21, 2019

House committee passes marijuana bill to federally legalize the drug

A pro-cannabis activist holds up a marijuana cigarette during a rally on Capitol Hill on April 24, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill 24-10 Wednesday that would decriminalize marijuana at a federal level.

Why it matters This is the first time a congressional committee has passed a bill to nationally legalize the drug, as ABC notes.

  • The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019, or MORE Act,would would require federal courts to expunge previous convictions for marijuana offenses,

What's next: The bill, which proposes to remove marijuana from a list of federally controlled substances, will now go to the full House.

Yes, but: While it has a good chance of passing in the Democratic-controlled House, it may well be thwarted in the Senate, where Republicans hold the majority, as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is against legalizing the drug, per CNBC.

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Debate night: Booker, Biden butt heads over marijuana

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Cory Booker went head-to-head Wednesday over legalizing marijuana, with the senator joking that Biden "might have been high" when he recently said he opposes federal legalization.

Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019

Biden: There's no proof marijuana isn't a gateway drug

Joe Biden speaks in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Nov. 2. Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

2020 candidate Joe Biden said Saturday there would need to be more research into marijuana's effects before he'd ever federally legalize the drug as president, in order to rule out whether it's a "gateway drug."

The big picture: Several 2020 candidates have proposed to end the war on drugs and legalize marijuana. When Biden was vice president, he supported decriminalization rather than legalization.

Go deeperArrowNov 18, 2019

Biden clarifies stance on marijuana

Photo: David Becker/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the sole top 2020 Democrat to oppose the federal legalization of marijuana, clarified his stance on the drug Monday.

Driving the news: Biden was criticized over the weekend for saying he opposes the federal legalization of marijuana because "there's not nearly been enough evidence that has been acquired as to whether or not it is a gateway drug." He argued to leave it to the states, but he supports legalizing medical marijuana and does not believe possession of the drug should be a crime.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019