House passes landmark marijuana legalization bill, heads to Senate – NBC Connecticut

The House on Friday passed legislation that would legalize marijuana nationwide, eliminating criminal penalties for anyone who manufactures, distributes or possesses the substance.

Lawmakers approved Measure 220-204 in a largely partisan vote. Republicans Tom McClintock of California and Matt Gaetz and Brian Mast of Florida voted in favor of the legislation, while Democrats Chris Pappas of New Hampshire and Henry Cueller of Texas voted against.

The legislation, dubbed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, passed the House last year but did not advance to the Senate. In addition to decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level, the bill would establish procedures to erase prior convictions from people’s records and impose a tax on the sale of cannabis products.

The tax would start at 5% and eventually increase to 8%. Money raised from the levy would go to a fund to provide job training, mentoring, addiction treatment, legal aid, rehabilitation services and youth recreation programs. It would also provide loans to help small businesses in the cannabis industry that are “owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged people,” a summary of the bill says.

The bill will now once again head to the Senate.

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