Both Houses of United States Congress Introduce Bills To Legalize Marijuana

Proposals allow states to retain power to pass their own marijuana laws.

US map and Statue of Liberty

The United States of America

Michael Greene : New York Daily Weed Report

Proposals allow states to retain power to pass their own marijuana laws.

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on FEBRUARY 08, 2019 announced introduction of S. 420, the Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act, legislation that would responsibly legalize, tax and regulate marijuana at the federal level. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, also introduced H.R. 420, the Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Act, in the United States House of Representatives on the same day. This legislation would legalize marijuana by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and allow for a nationally regulated industry under the oversight of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Blumenauer, a leading voice for marijuana policy reform, last year authored a comprehensive blueprint for marijuana legalization in the 116th Congress.

Senator Ron Wyden - Ranking Member Senate Finance Committee
Ron Wyden

The legislation is included in a broader package introduced in the Senate by Wyden and introduced in the House of Representatives by senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee Representative Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., to preserve the integrity of state marijuana laws and provide a path for responsible federal legalization and regulation of the marijuana industry. The Path to Marijuana Reform also includes the Small Business Tax Equity Act, which prevents legal marijuana businesses from getting hit with an unfair tax bill, and a measure to shrink the gap between federal and state marijuana policies.

The Path to Marijuana Reform, introduced by Wyden and Blumenauer last Congress, includes the following three bills:

The Small Business Tax Equity Act

This legislation would treat state-legal marijuana businesses like other small businesses by repealing the tax penalty that singles out marijuana businesses and bars them from claiming deductions and tax credits.  

Legislative text can be found here.

Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act

This legislation would reduce the gap between federal and state laws by removing federal criminal penalties and civil asset forfeiture for individuals and businesses complying with state law. It would also reduce barriers for state-legal marijuana businesses by ensuring access to banking, bankruptcy protection, marijuana research and advertising. It would protect individual marijuana consumers in states that have legalized marijuana by providing an expungement process for certain marijuana violations, ensuring access to public housing and federal financial aid for higher education, and ensuring that a person cannot be deported or denied entry to the U.S. solely for consuming marijuana in compliance with state law. Finally, it would remove unfair burdens by ensuring veterans have access to state-legal medical marijuana and protect Native American tribes from punishment under federal marijuana laws.

Legislative text can be found here.

Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act

This legislation would responsibly de-schedule, tax and regulate marijuana. It would impose an excise tax on marijuana products similar to current federal excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco, escalating annually to a top rate equal to 25 percent of the sales price. Marijuana producers, importers and wholesalers would be required to obtain a permit from the Department of Treasury, and the marijuana industry would be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol. Strict rules would prohibit sale or distribution of marijuana in states where it is illegal under state law.

Legislative text can be found here.