US House of Representatives votes to decriminalise marijuana

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By AP with Euronews
US House of Representatives votes to decriminalise marijuana
Copyright  Matilde Campodonico/AP

The US House of Representatives has voted to decriminalise marijuana at a Federal level.

Fifteen states already authorise recreational marijuana use and 36 allow it for medical use. But Federal laws banning the use of the drug make it difficult for companies to trade.

The House passed the bill by 228 votes to 164.

However it is unlikely to get through the US Senate, where it now goes for approval.

The vote on the Democrat-sponsored measures cut across party lines, with five Republicans supporting the bill and six Democrats opposing it.

"I'm voting for it because the federal government has lied to the people of this country about marijuana for a generation," argued Republican Matt Gaetz from Florida . 

"We have seen a generation, particularly of black and brown youth, locked up for offenses that should have not resulted in any incarceration whatsoever."

The proposal would enable the raising of Federal taxes on marijuana, but this was not enough to convince most of Gaetz’s colleagues.

"Legalising weed would create revenue from taxes,” said Republican Greg Murphy from North Carolina. “But at what cost do we then start legalising cocaine? Marijuana is a gateway drug. Make no mistake about that. It undoubtedly leads to further and much more dangerous drug use."