Marijuana plants (illustrative)
Marijuana plants (illustrative)iStock

The US House of Representatives on Friday voted to pass a measure that would decriminalize marijuana use at the federal level.

The vote passed 228-164, mostly down party lines, with just five Republicans voting in favor of the measure. Six Democrats voted to oppose, reported ABC News.

While the federal government continues to criminalize cannabis, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler stressed that 36 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical cannabis while 15 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for adult recreational use.

Nadler said the legislation "would reverse the failed policy of criminalizing marijuana on the federal level and would take steps to address the heavy toll this policy has taken across the country, particularly on communities of color."

Throughout the debate, Republicans spoke in opposition to the bill, blaming marijuana for increased traffic deaths and as a gateway drug, according to ABC News.

Beyond decriminalizing cannabis, the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act would also mandate a reassessment of prior marijuana convictions, invest in services for people caught up in the war on drugs and open Small Business Administration funding for legitimate cannabis-related businesses.

President-elect Joe Biden campaigned in favor of decriminalizing marijuana, but even after Biden is inaugurated in January, Democrats would have to pass the measure not just through the House again but also clear it through the Senate.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)