The vote marks the first time either chamber of Congress has voted on the issue of federally decriminalizing cannabis.
Friday’s vote, however, is expected to take place largely along party lines, with Democrats voting overwhelmingly to support the federal decriminalization bill and Republicans likely to broadly oppose it.
“This movement in states is part of a larger evolution on marijuana policy by the American people, who are rejecting the failed War on Drugs — an approach that has disrupted the lives of millions of people needlessly through failed marijuana prohibition policies,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, said in a statement.
Top Republicans — including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — made derisive public comments about the bill this week, painting the measure as a frivolous diversion from the task of funding the federal government and delivering a new round of emergency coronavirus aid to Americans.
One headline from McConnell: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) decides to “puff, puff, pass” on emergency coronavirus relief.
“It’s just unbelievable how tone-deaf they are to these small businesses and the jobs, the families that are tied to them,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said in a Fox News Channel interview Thursday,…