New Legislation Would Force The Federal Government To Treat Marijuana Like Alcohol
- Author: Lila Blake Apr 05, 2017,
Apr 05, 2017, 0:45
The Small Business Tax Equity Act - Create an exception to Internal Revenue Code section 280E that would allow businesses compliant with state laws to claim deductions and credits associated with the sale of marijuana.
"The Path to Marijuana Reform Act" is sponsored by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, a democrat from Oregon.
Polis's bill is part of a package introduced by fellow Cannabis Caucus members Sen. Rand Paul (KY) as co-sponsor. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Rep. Blumenauer. On top of that, the new legislation would allow each state to determine its own laws for medical and recreational marijuana without worrying about federal interference from Attorney General Jeff Sessions - an outspoken opponent of marijuana legalization.
The two other bills are the The Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act and the The Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act.
Banks holding accounts of legal marijuana businesses would no longer be at risk of federal prosecution or of losing their FDIC insurance.
Furthermore, it would put in place a process for getting marijuana convictions off a person's record, allowing them to access public housing and student loans. Veterans are also affected because now, if they get on a medical marijuana program they could lose all their benefits and rights as veterans.
"There is still the long-term pothead from the Woodstock generation who is still puffing away and first time users, many of whom are women, who don't want to be seen smoking a joint, but do want to enjoy the high of consuming marijuana". It would also reduce barriers for state-legal marijuana businesses by ensuring access to banking, bankruptcy protection, marijuana research, and advertising.
Under the new bill, called the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, the plant would be removed from its Schedule I listing on the Controlled Substances List and would be regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The goal would be for pot to be regulated much like alcohol is now regulated. "States, they can pass the laws they choose".
The bills would also create a new federal tax on all cannabis products that would start at 10 percent and escalate to 25 percent.
Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, says today's barrage of bills is more evidence of the changing federal attitude toward marijuana.
On the criminal justice front, a separate set of so-called cannabis policy "gap" bills, also introduced by Wyden and Blumenauer of OR, would eliminate numerous consequences associated with federal cannabis convictions. "Voters and legislatures are rolling back antiquated state marijuana prohibition policies, and it's time for Congress to step up at the federal level".
Sen. Wyden and Rep. Blumenauer are both from OR, where in 2014 voters approved a ballot measure legalizing marijuana. Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Vermont have all recently been discussing legislation that could make medical or recreational marijuana legal within their respective states. Wyden said in a statement.
"Too many people are trapped between federal and state laws", Blumenauer said. "It's not right, and it's not fair", said Blumenauer.