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Congresswoman hails step toward nationwide legal weed

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Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury hosted a virtual town hall meeting on April 5 that hailed the success of the House of Representatives in passing a law that would make cannabis legal for adult recreational use across the United States.

The MORE Act was passed by Congress on April 1. MORE stands for Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement.

"It really lays the groundwork for decriminalizing and legalizing cannabis to bring the federal government more in line with New Mexico and other states that have legalized cannabis," she said.

As adult-use cannabis sales get underway in New Mexico, retailers are reporting millions of dollars spent on the substance in just a few days.

While 18 states and the District of Columbia have legalized adult-use recreational weed, it's still illegal on a federal level.

This patchwork can lead to problems like the risk of Customs and Border Protection officials detaining people and confiscating product in New Mexico. Or issues for cannabis producers banking in traditional banks.

Congresswoman Stansbury said the federal legislation was unlikely to pass the Senate, but that it could still be a step toward broad legalization.

"Part of the point is to go through the process to continue to elevate these issues and put them at the forefront of the American agenda," she said. "Less than 10% of Americans believe that marijuana or cannabis should be completely illegal, less than 10% of the population. Over 60% of Americans believe that it should be legal for both medical and recreational use."

Callers in to the virtual town hall had concerns about whether more young people would consume cannabis, and whether the medical supply would be protected.

Alice Fordham joined the news team in 2022 after a career as an international correspondent, reporting for NPR from the Middle East and later Latin America and Europe. She also worked as a podcast producer for The Economist among other outlets, and tries to meld a love of sound and storytelling with solid reporting on the community. She grew up in the U.K. and has a small jar of Marmite in her kitchen for emergencies.