House of Representatives looks to decriminalize marijuana with new bill, students respond

The United States House of Representatives passed new legislation Friday, Dec. 4 that would remove marijuana from the government’s list of scheduled substances and federally decriminalize the drug if agreed upon by the Senate.

While Americans use marijuana at the same rate regardless of race, a Black individual is four times more likely to be arrested on marijuana-related charges than their white counterpart.

The legislation, dubbed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019, aims to counter previous drug policies that have disproportionately affected Black and Brown communities by eliminating the conviction records of people affected by the criminalization of marijuana, including those with non-violent marijuana charges on their records.

In addition, the MORE Act would change the legal name from marijuana to cannabis and establish programs that would allow communities impacted by the war on drugs to create their own marijuana-related businesses, along with a 5% tax on all marijuana products, which would be used to fund these programs.

Anthea Johnson, a third-year journalism major at Long Beach State, said she was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a connective tissue disorder, and began using medical cannabis after turning 18 to help alleviate her symptoms.

“[Ehlers-Danlos syndrome] causes chronic joint…

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