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House to vote on removing cannabis from list of controlled substances

The House will vote on legislation next month to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and erase some marijuana criminal records. 

The bill would not legalize the drug, which would be left up to states, but the vote will still be a historic step in the effort to reduce legal penalties related to the drug. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said in an email to members that the vote will take place during the September work period.

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Marijuana is already legal in 11 states.

The vote would be the first taken by either chamber of Congress to take marijuana off the Controlled Substances Act.

Cannabis is currently listed as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning there’s a high chance for abuse and no medical benefits. Removing it under the act would eliminate the federal prohibition on the drug but leave in place state laws making it illegal.

It would also expunge criminal records and provide grant funding for people who have been negatively impacted by enforcement of marijuana laws. 

The bill was first introduced by House Judiciary Chair Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerA historic moment to truly honor mothers Britney Spears to discuss conservatorship in court Schumer waiting for recommendation on Supreme Court expansion MORE (D-N.Y.) last fall and passed the panel by a 24-10 vote in November. It passed the committee with the votes of GOP Reps. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzCornyn is most prolific tweeter in Congress so far in 2021 GOP frustration with Liz Cheney 'at a boiling point' Hillicon Valley: DOJ to review cyber challenges | Gaetz, House Republicans want to end funding for postal service surveillance | TikTok gets new CEO MORE (Fla.) and Tom McClintockThomas (Tom) Milller McClintockLawmakers tout bipartisan support for resolution criticizing Iran's government House Republicans ask Pelosi to reschedule Biden's address to Congress GOP lawmakers ask Mayorkas for documents on warnings from DHS to Biden on immigration MORE (Calif.). It is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate.

The vote comes amid a national reckoning over systemic racism and police brutality, with racial justice advocates noting the disproportionate enforcement of marijuana laws against people of color.