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House passes landmark bill decriminalizing marijuana at federal level



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The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday voted to pass a historic bill that would decriminalize marijuana use at the federal level if the U.S. Senate and the president approve it too.

This legislation, known as the MORE Act, comes off the heels of the 2020 U.S. elections, which saw numerous states legalize the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana through ballot referendums, bringing the total number of states that have legalized recreational use to 15 plus the District of Columbia. Additionally, 36 states and D.C. have so far legalized the medicinal use of marijuana.

RELATED: Election 2020 Statewide Referendums: marijuana, mushrooms, wages, state flags, and more

The House voted 228-164 on the bill. While it was mostly split down party lines, notably, five Republicans voted in favor and six Democrats voted to oppose the measure. Rep. Justin Amash (L-Mich.), a former Republican who left the party in July 2019 and joined the Libertarian Party in April 2020, voted in favor of the bill as expected.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a reliable ally of President Donald Trump and the only GOP cosponsor of the MORE Act, delivered an impassioned speech on the floor of the House Friday morning before the vote, urging his fellow Republicans to back the legislation. While saying he believes the act was “flawed,” he argued that the war on drugs has failed and has caused the disproportionate mass incarceration of racial minorities among other significant issues.

“The MORE Act is flawed. It uses cannabis policy to do a great deal of social engineering, to create new taxes and new programs and redistribution of assets,” Gaetz said at the opening of his almost-four-minute remarks. “But I am here as the only Republican cosponsor of the MORE Act, and I’m voting for it.”

“Because the federal government has lied to the people of this country about marijuana for a generation,” he continued, passion filling his voice. “We have seen a generation, particularly of Black and Brown youth, locked up for offenses that should’ve not resulted in any incarceration whatsoever.”

Gaetz then went on to deride the federal government’s current policies that make researching marijuana incredibly difficult and limits people’s freedom of choice, things that libertarians and progressives have argued for decades on top of the implications that such policies have had on the criminal justice system and minority communities.

Historically, this represents a turning point for the Republican Party. Most likely, this could reflective of the GOP beginning to adapt to the dramatically changing attitude the majority of Americans hold toward marijuana use in general, which has become viewed more positively over the course of the past decade. 68% of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, according to a Gallup poll from last month, a record high.

President-elect Joe Biden campaigned for the federal decriminalization of marijuana, but Democrats would have to sweep both of Georgia’s runoffs for the Senate on January 5 in order to get 50 out of the 100 seats in the chamber. While they would have Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the tiebreaking vote, such legislation would require 60 votes to pass before going to the president to sign, then officially becoming law.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Florida Congressman Byron Donalds Considers Gubernatorial Run in 2026



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Republican Representative Byron Donalds from Florida is contemplating a potential bid for the governorship of the Sunshine State in 2026, according to a source close to him confirmed by Fox News Digital.

Donalds, who has been a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump, revealed to Fox News Digital his current focus on assisting Trump’s bid to return to office, stating, “I’m committed to making Biden a one-term president. We’ll focus on that other stuff after President Trump gets inaugurated.”

This announcement comes as Donalds finds himself at the forefront of the ongoing efforts in the House to pass a continuing resolution aimed at preventing a government shutdown. He has been actively involved in seeking a bipartisan consensus to ensure government funding through the end of October, as the September 30th deadline approaches.

Additionally, Donalds has expressed his willingness to serve as Trump’s running mate if asked by the former president, adding intrigue to his potential gubernatorial ambitions.

Notably, this development emerges amid speculations about a gubernatorial run by another prominent Florida Republican, Representative Matt Gaetz. Gaetz recently dismissed such rumors, affirming his focus on supporting Trump’s prospective 2024 White House run.

The timing of Donalds’ potential candidacy for Florida’s governorship coincides with the state’s constitution barring current Governor Ron DeSantis from seeking re-election in 2026 due to term limits.

While House Republicans have generally reached a consensus on the funding measure, some holdouts, including Gaetz, threaten to disrupt the process. Gaetz has even raised the possibility of a mutiny against House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to challenge his leadership.

However, McCarthy has downplayed these threats, responding to Gaetz’s intentions during a House GOP conference meeting with the directive to “file a f—ing motion” if he intends to remove him from his position as House Speaker.

The outcome of the continuing resolution and the dynamics within the House Republican caucus will undoubtedly influence the political landscape in Florida and the aspirations of figures like Byron Donalds in the years to come.

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