On Friday, April 1, the House voted to legalize marijuana on a federal level in a 220-204 vote.
This would mean creating a process to expunge some marijuana related offenses, imposing a tax on marijuana, and more later on when there is more funding. While the bill has passed in the House, it still must go through the Senate and President to become a law. The House and Senate have differing ideas on the logistics of the bill.
Overall, if the bill passes in both houses of Congress, it can benefit communities affected by the War on Drugs. Black and brown people are 3.73x more likely to be arrested for marijuana related crimes, even though marijuana use is fairly equal between both groups.
Legalizing marijuana could lessen the load of the prison systems and “allow inmates [who are] currently imprisoned for minuscule drug violations to start again,” said Marquise Webb, a sophomore at LRHS
If Congress goes with the House’s plan on taxing marijuana, it could create $8.1 billion in revenue by 2031.
Currently, the U.S is about $31 trillion in debt, and while it will take time, by taxing marijuana, we can start chipping away at the national debt.
Some argue that legalizing marijuana would cause the use of it to become out of control.
“Marijuana can affect your health. This could be detrimental to youth today… but there seems to be more good than bad [in this bill],” said Meonna Sloane who is a freshman at Leesville.
“I believe the good does outweigh the bad, as many people have been locked up for less charges and laws [largely impact] specific demographics of people in America,” said Webb.
While there is no certainty the Senate and President Biden will approve the bill, there is hope that this could be a big step towards equity in the criminal justice system and lowering national debt.