Health care — House passes decriminalization of marijuana

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It was a big day for American soccer fans as the US men’s national team drew England and Iran to their World Cup squad next fall.

The House voted to decriminalize marijuana, but it’s unclear what will happen next as deep partisan divisions remain.

For The Hill, we are Peter Sullivan, Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Send us tips and feedback at psullivan@thehill.com, nweixel@thehill.com and jchoi@thehill.com.

Let’s start.

House approves bill to decriminalize marijuana

The House on Friday passed legislation that would end the federal ban on marijuana and eliminate longstanding criminal penalties for anyone who distributes or possesses it.

The bill, dubbed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, would remove cannabis from the list of federal prohibited substances, remove certain past offenses associated with cannabis, impose a 5% federal tax on cannabis that would eventually increase to 8 %, and fund programs to help communities affected by the war on drugs.

The bill passed largely along party lines 220-204, with three Republicans joining all but two Democrats in supporting it.

The legislation comes amid a growing shift in public attitudes toward marijuana, with most states passing some sort of decriminalization or legalization law.

Cloudy future: The measure now goes to the Senate, but it is unclear whether it can win the necessary 60 votes. Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.) is working with fellow Democrats to introduce a marijuana legalization bill as soon as this spring.

The White House has also yet to release a statement on whether President Biden supports the legislation. Biden has said he opposes broad legalization.

As it stands, marijuana is federally classified as a “Schedule 1” drug, meaning it’s considered a highly addictive drug with no medicinal value – like heroin, and worse than fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine.

Learn more here.

GOP STILL HAS DEEP DOUBTS ABOUT MARIJUANA

On Friday, the vast majority of House Republicans voted against a bill ending the federal ban on marijuana, underscoring the deep reservations that remain in the GOP about its use and allowing it to become widely available even then. as support for legalization grows.

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee warned that passing the bill would lead to widespread use of the drug. They also said he ignored established science about the harmful effects of marijuana.

GOP lawmakers are also unsettled that Republican amendments for more restriction have not been considered.

“Our country is already suffering from many crises inflicted by Biden. Now Democrats are making it a priority to expand the accessibility of addictive, behavior-altering recreational drugs,” said Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), adding that the bill’s programs would “produce a negative impact on our children and our communities”.

As public opinion has warmed toward cannabis legalization, so have Republican politicians. Former House GOP Chairman John Boehner (Ohio) has joined the board of a cannabis investment firm after leaving the House.

When the MORE Act passed the House in 2020, five Republicans joined Democrats in supporting it. One of those five, Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), said he would “probably” vote for the legislation again.

Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) said he’s had a personal evolution coming to support the legalization of medical cannabis, but not for recreational use.

Some Republicans found regulatory issues with the bill, but overall the passage of the MORE Act showed that a number of Republicans are resistant to recreational legalization.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), a medical doctor, called recreational legalization a “bad idea,” saying the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse testified that “from the perspective of health, you shouldn’t legalize recreational marijuana.” .”

Learn more here.

Pregnancy doubles risk of COVID breakthrough: study

A study published Thursday found that pregnancy nearly doubles the risk of breakthrough COVID-19 cases, followed closely by the risk of a solid organ transplant.

The analysis, based on the medical records of nearly 14 million people, found vaccinated pregnant women have the greatest risk of developing COVID-19 – more likely than those who have had a solid organ transplant or an immune system deficiency.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged people to get coronavirus vaccines before or during pregnancy, trying to combat fear in some communities that vaccines could be harmful.

The authors said the findings support the CDC’s recommendation that patients with high-risk comorbidity may need to use enhanced infection prevention control beyond vaccination to minimize the risk of a breakthrough infection. COVID-19 infection.

Unknown: But the study found no reason for the increased risk. It also did not show how sick patients were when they were infected with the virus after being vaccinated.

Learn more here.

CDC: MORE THAN 40% OF TEENS ARE PERMANENTLY SAD IN MIDDLE OF PANDEMIC

More than 40% of teens said they felt constantly sad or hopeless during the pandemic, underscoring the toll COVID-19 has taken on teen mental health, according to a new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC).

The CDC survey, released Thursday, found that of 7,705 US high school students surveyed, 44% said they felt sad or hopeless almost every day for at least two consecutive weeks. Thirty-seven percent said their mental health was mostly or always poor during the pandemic.

“These data echo a call for help,” CDC Acting Senior Deputy Director Debra Houry said in a statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic has created traumatic stressors that have the potential to further erode students’ mental well-being.”

Learn more here.

POLL: MORE AMERICANS SUPPORT THAN OPPOSE 15-WEEK ABORTION BAN

As the fight over abortion will come to a head this summer in the Supreme Court, a new Wall Street Journal poll has found that more Americans support banning abortion at 15 weeks gestation than they do. oppose.

In the poll, 48% said they were strongly or somewhat in favor of a 15-week abortion ban with the exception of protecting the health of the mother, while 43% opposed such a ban. .

The poll found 31% strongly supported the ban and 17% somewhat supported it. On the other side, around 34% strongly oppose the measure while around 10% oppose it somewhat.

The findings come as several Republican-led states have passed bills banning abortion after a woman is 15 weeks pregnant.

Learn more here.

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WHAT WE READ

  • Califf admits controversy over FDA decision on Alzheimer’s drugs impacted experts’ trust in agency (Stat)
  • Black students experiencing racism on campus lack mental health support (Kaiser Health News)
  • Finding a coronavirus test was difficult. Now there are too many (Washington Post)

STATE BY STATE

  • As US nears one million Covid deaths, hard-hit county grapples with unthinkable loss (Kaiser Health News)
  • Mississippi lawmakers want to save money on prisoner health care. Reluctance to extend parole makes it tricky (Mississippi Today)

OP-EDS ON THE HILL

That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s healthcare page for the latest news and coverage. See you Monday.

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