The National Post reports in its Saturday, Dec. 5, edition that the U.S. House of Representatives voted on Friday to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, but the legislation is not expected to advance further as long as the Senate remains in Republican hands. A Reuters dispatch to the Post reports that it was the first time either chamber of Congress has voted to end the federal ban on marijuana since the drug was listed as a "controlled substance" in 1970.
Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use of weed, and over 30 states allow some form of the drug for medicinal purposes. Weed sales hit record levels over the Thanksgiving weekend. However, the federal ban on the drug persists, which creates conflicts with state laws and limits pot companies' access to banking services and financing.
The Democratic-majority House voted 228-164, along party lines, to lift the federal prohibition. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, is an opponent of the change, meaning a decriminalization proposal is unlikely to see Senate action unless Democrats manage to win both Georgia Senate seats and with them Senate control in a Jan. 5 runoff election.
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