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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
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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