Federal marijuana legalization takes closer step

Those previously convicted of drug charges in Texas may be interested in a new bill that was passed by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill, known as the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act or MORE, would decriminalize marijuana on a federal level. After more than two hours of debate, the bill passed 24-10.

The bill would remove marijuana from the current list of federally controlled substances. This would give states the power to make laws regarding its use. Additionally, federal courts would be required to expunge the records of all those who were convicted of marijuana crimes on a federal level. If it becomes law, the MORE Act would also place a 5% tax on all marijuana products. This money would be placed in a trust fund and used to help individuals who are affected by drug abuse, such as help with addiction recovery programs and job training.

Proponents of the bill believe that marijuana should no longer be treated as a criminal justice matter but rather a personal choice. Recent polls indicate that the majority of United States citizens are in favor of legalization. Currently, marijuana is approved for medical use in 33 states and for recreational use in 11.

Those convicted of drug crimes often face serious consequences, which may include fines, time served in prison, loss of a driver’s license and community service. It’s important that those who are accused of a drug crime get fair representation to prevent their rights from being violated. This includes protection against search and seizure. Police must have the proper warrants in place before searching the premises for drugs or drug paraphernalia. If they search without a warrant, anything found may be inadmissible. A lawyer may then be able to have the charges reduced or the case dropped.