Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bill Introduced to End Federal Marijuana Prohibition

Activist Post

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) today introduced two pieces of legislation to de-federalize marijuana policy and create a framework for the federal taxation of cannabis. Polis’ Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act would remove the Drug Enforcement Agency’s authority over marijuana and allow states to choose whether to allow marijuana for medicinal or recreational use. Blumenauer’s Marijuana Tax Equity Act would create a federal excise tax on marijuana. Together, these bills would provide a system of regulation and taxation for marijuana in states where it is legal.

“This legislation doesn't force any state to legalize marijuana, but Colorado and the 18 other jurisdictions that have chosen to allow marijuana for medical or recreational use deserve the certainty of knowing that federal agents won’t raid state-legal businesses,” said Polis. “Congress should simply allow states to regulate marijuana as they see fit and stop wasting federal tax dollars on the failed drug war.”

“We are in the process of a dramatic shift in the marijuana policy landscape,” said Blumenauer. “Public attitude, state law, and established practices are all creating irreconcilable difficulties for public officials at every level of government. We want the federal government to be a responsible partner with the rest of the universe of marijuana interests while we address what federal policy should be regarding drug taxation, classification, and legality.”


The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act follows Colorado’s model of regulating marijuana like alcohol by:
  • Removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act;
  • Transferring the Drug Enforcement Administration’s authority to regulate marijuana to a newly renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms, which will be tasked with regulating marijuana as it currently does alcohol;
  • Requiring marijuana producers to purchase a permit, as commercial alcohol producers do, of which the proceeds would offset the cost of federal oversight; and,
  • Ensuring federal law distinguishes between individuals who grow marijuana for personal use and those involved in commercial sale and distribution.
States could choose to continue to prohibit marijuana production or use in their states and it would remain illegal to transport marijuana to a state where it is prohibited.

The Marijuana Tax Equity Act would create the following framework:
  • This bill imposes a 50 percent excise tax on the first sale of marijuana, from the producer to the next stage of production, usually the processor;
  • Similar to the rules within the alcohol and tobacco tax provisions, an occupational tax will be imposed on those operating in marijuana, with producers, importers and manufacturers facing an occupation tax of $1,000/a year and any other person engaged in the business facing an annual tax of $500/a year;
  • Civil penalties will be imposed for failure to comply with taxing duties. Criminal penalties will be assessed for intentional efforts to defraud the taxing authorities; and,
  • The bill also requires the IRS to produce a study of the industry after two years, and every five years after that, and to issue recommendations to Congress to continue improving the administration of the tax.
The congressmen have also co-authored a new report “The Path Forward: Rethinking Federal Marijuana Policy.” The document reviews the history of marijuana prohibition in the U.S., current conflicts between state and federal law, and outlines several opportunities to reform and clarify marijuana law at the federal level.

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11 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is only one key to this proposal. That key is the Feds would be able to tax it. If somebody is gonna get something the government is gonna get a piece of it. Greedy bastards, mother nature gives it freely and the government uses any way they can to get your money. Make it illegal until enough people say bullshit then make it legal but tax it. Greedy bastards.

Anonymous said...

This is just the Feds scrambling to stay in power. When states start thumbing their noses at the Feds, the reaction is always "ok, we will allow you to do this; here are the rules you will follow and the money you will pay to us. You're welcome!" Otherwise they look weak. Notice all of the oversight and regulations and taxes associated? It's all slavery! We need to tell the Feds to go to hell and mind their own business.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with taxation of drugs like Marijuana, I have advocated it for years through support of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition(LEAP), the revenues from such drug sales could help cover government expenses and reduce taxes and such(in theory).

However in the case of the U.S.A I do believe it should be the State governments collecting all of that tax money, not the federal government.

Partially that is because the money is more likely to help the regular people by going to State treasuries but also because it would allow the States to have some control over pricing and taxation levels and such to "tune" the legal market to local conditions for maximum efficiency and minimal bureaucratic waste.

A federal 'one size fits all' system won't be much better than the current system of prohibition in my view, the money that gets wasted will probably cut out 30-50% of the taxation profits from the get-go, and most of the rest will likely end up in the typical corrupted pockets of the "elites" rather than helping the average person or nation as a whole.

Peace,
Jonny

Anonymous said...

Both bills are short-sighted and contradictory. With the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, prohibition would be left up to the states, but regulatory authority would be assigned to the federal BATF. The Marijuana Tax Equity Act "requires the IRS to produce a study of the industry after two years, and every five years after that, and to issue recommendations to Congress to continue improving the administration of the tax."

50% excise tax on the first sale of marijuana, from the producer to the next stage of production? How is that "equitable"? Is it at all comparable to the alcohol excise taxes?

Just more deception from Washington's District of Criminals.

Anonymous said...

We can do better. How about a bill to end the gangster federal "government"?

Anonymous said...

Is there a 50 percent excise tax on the first sale of cotton?... How about Corn, wheat, apples or rice?..... A 50% excise tax on the sale of anything is absurd.
Legalize it and leave the States alone. Why does Corp-Gov believe it MUST be involved in absolutely everything?...

Anonymous said...

I wont buy it I'll grow it.
TAX that !!!

wishbone said...

the entire U,S, and U,K, and europian governments really need to sit down and roll a lot of really big joints, put on some cool music and lay back, stop being so bloody up-tight all the time, it would make the world a much better place, they might even come up with some great ideas to solve some of the world REAL PROBLEMS. peace dudes.

Anonymous said...

One of the foundation benefits of legalization is abolishing the black market in cannabis that sells to our youth, and moving to a system where the purchasers must be 21.
Making the taxes so high that the illegal market is significantly cheaper than the legal market, simply guarantees that the black market will survive, and that they will be able to sell at significantly lower prices than legal retail.
In Washington state, with this federal tax added, an ounce of decent field grown cannabis will run 300$, and the grower will only get 25$ of that. Black market prices for the same thing have been steady at around 100$ an ounce for many years.
Greed and stupidity in action. Under the current proposed legislation, the black market will be considered heroes and will have songs sung in their honor!

Anonymous said...

If you look at the bigger picture, this will allow manufacturing of medications, fuel, clothing, bricks, and paint from another source besides oil. It will change our world as we know it. The costs and environmental effects of our everyday products would change dramatically. Enviromentally this would be a huge step forward for man kind.

wishbone said...

see, exactly what i said, great ideas to make the world a better place.

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