Breaking: Congressmen Introduce FEDERAL Bills To Legalize Marijuana
Marijuana is legal in Oregon. Marijuana is legal in Colorado. And now, Democratic Reps. Earl Blumenauer or Oregon and Jared Polis of Colorado want cannabis to be legal on the federal level.
On Friday, Polis and Blumenauer introduced two separate bills to make their vision a reality. Polis’ bill, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, removes marijuana from the list of banned substances. Blumenauer’s bill, on the other hand, focuses more on the financial side through the creation of a tax structure to bring in money from recreational cannabis sales.
“The federal prohibition of marijuana has been a failure, wasting tax dollars and ruining countless lives,” Blumenauer told The Hill.
Marijuana would first be taxed at 10 percent. This rate would then gradually increase to 25 percent. Medical marijuana would be spared from taxation by the bill. Calculations project that the legislation, along with the funds saved from not throwing people in prison for marijuana, would bring in around $10 billion in revenue for the federal government.
“As more state marijuana legalization laws come on board it’s increasingly important for federal policy to catch up,” Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“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. 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.”
However, two indicators may pour cold water on the hopes of marijuana advocates. First, the bills were introduced on Friday, when legislators are out on recess. And second, Congress moved to reject these same exact bills during the last session. Notably, though, the Obama administration has warmed up to marijuana in the past few months, and last year, the Republican-dominated Congress decided to defund the Drug Enforcement Administration from cracking down on state medical marijuana.
“Cops have better things to worry about than the recreational habits of responsible, nonviolent adults,” said Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of criminal justice professionals opposed to the drug war. “And dispensary owners have better things to worry about than whether the federal government is going to arrest them and/or seize their assets for acting in accordance with state law.”
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