Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Jared Polis introduced two bills today that would work together to legalize and tax marijuana at the federal level.
Colorado Rep. Polis’ Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act would remove marijuana as a schedule I drug set by the Controlled Substances Act, as well as transfer jurisdiction from the Drug Enforcement Agency to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
If Polis’ bill passes, then Oregon Rep. Blumenauer’s Marijuana Tax Revenue Act would impose a series of federal excise taxes on businesses, cultivators, and the product itself. Medical marijuana would be exempt from those taxes.
“It’s time for the federal government to chart a new path forward for marijuana.” said Mr. Blumenauer in a statement. “Together these bills create a federal framework to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, much like we treat alcohol and tobacco. The federal prohibition of marijuana has been a failure, wasting tax dollars and ruining countless lives. As more states move to legalize marijuana as Oregon, Colorado, Washington and Alaska have done, it’s imperative the federal government become a full partner in building a workable and safe framework.”
Both Polis and Blumenauer introduced similar bills in 2013 that turned out unsuccessful. But now more than 213 million people live in a state or jurisdiction with some form of legal marijuana. With nearly half of the U.S. currently implementing medical marijuana laws and four states legalizing outright use, it’s time congress actually takes these bills seriously.
“As more state marijuana legalization laws come on board it’s increasingly important for federal policy to catch up,” said Marijuana Majority chairman Tom Angell in a statement. “The Obama administration’s enforcement approach over the past few years has created some room for Colorado and Washington to implement their laws and show the world that legalization works. And we even saw the Republican-controlled Congress vote last year to stop the DEA from spending money to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. Now it’s time to fully and officially end the federal criminalization of marijuana so that states can move ahead with full certainty that the DEA won’t be able to step in whenever the drug warriors that run the agency feel like it.”