By Moira Warburton / Reuters
WASHINGTON, April 1 (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed a bill to end the federal ban on marijuana, which has created legal headaches for users and businesses in the states that have legalized it, though the measure was seen as unlikely to pass the Senate.
It passed by 220-204, with few Republicans supporting the measure.
The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, sponsored by Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, which is in the process of legalizing the drug, removes marijuana from the list of controlled substances and eliminates criminal penalties for individuals who grow, distribute or possess it.
But the MORE act will need to gain 60 votes in the evenly divided Senate before moving to President Joe Biden's desk for his signature, an outcome widely seen as unlikely given the lack of Republican support for the measure.
The bill would "end decades of failed and unjust marijuana policy," Democratic Representative Ed Perlmutter said on the House floor on Thursday ahead of the vote. "It is clear prohibition is over. Today we have an opportunity to chart a new path forward on federal cannabis policy that actually makes sense."
He added that the bill does not force any state to legalize marijuana.