Federal Bills to Legalize Marijuana, Regulate Sales in U.S. to Be Introduced TodayBy Thomas H. Clarke | The Daily Chronic February 5, 2013
WASHINGTON, DC — Representatives from Oregon and Colorado will introduce two historic bills federal marijuana reform bills to Congress on Tuesday, one that would end the federal prohibition of marijuana and allow states to determine their own policies, and the other that would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana at the federal level.
U.S. Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) will introduce a bill that would end the federal prohibition of marijuana and allow states to determine their own marijuana policies without the threat of federal interference.
Rep. Polis’ bill would set up a regulatory process similar to existing alcohol regulatory framework for states that choose to legalize marijuana.
Under Rep. Polis’ bill, oversight of marijuana would be removed from the Drug Enforcement Administration and given to the newly renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms, and it would remain illegal to bring marijuana from a state where it’s legal to one where it isn’t.
Polis’ bill is based on a legalization measure introduced in 2011 by former Reps. Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Ron Paul of Texas.
Meanwhile, Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) intends to introduce a bill that would tax marijuana at the federal level. The bill would create a federal marijuana excise tax of 50% on the “first sale” of marijuana, typically, from a grower to a processor or retailer.
It also would tax marijuana producers and importers $1,000 annually, and other marijuana businesses $500.
Both Representatives, along with drug policy reform advocates, will discuss these measures at a teleconference this afternoon.
When residents of Colorado and Washington voted to end their state’s prohibition on marijuana last November, it was a watershed moment for our nation’s move towards sane marijuana laws,” said NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri, who will be speaking at today’s teleconference.
“But there remains a lingering conflict between state and federal law. These historic measures seek to resolve this conflict and empower states to dictate their own marijuana policies, without fear of federal incursion. NORML would like to thank the Congressmen for taking this brave step forward and encourages their colleagues in Congress to join them in calling for sensible marijuana law reform.”
Additionally, Reps. Blumenauer and Polis will release a report entitled “The Path Forward: Rethinking Federal Marijuana Policy” which outlines their perspective on marijuana policy and provides some background on marijuana regulation and opportunities for action.
The report states that “it is time for Congress to allow states and voters to decide how they want to treat marijuana. The current system is broken. It wastes resources and destroys individual lives, in turn damaging families and entire communities. It is past time to take action and stop this tragic waste in the future.”
The congressmen have also established the Sensible Drug Policy Working Group which will provide a forum for members of Congress who are working on related issues and hope to advance legislation.