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New House Bills To Legalize Marijuana in the U.S.
On Friday February 20, 2015, two separate bills were filled in the House that would legalize and tax recreational marijuana at the federal level.
First bill, the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act” was introduced by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), and would allow states to decide for themselves whether they want to legalize recreational pot and move it from the Drug Enforcement Administration oversight to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. This would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act’s schedules which is basically a list of federally banned drugs.
Rep. Polis indicated that legalization of marijuana in Colorado at the state level served as a good example: “Over the past year, Colorado has demonstrated that regulating marijuana like alcohol takes money away from criminals and cartels, grows our economy, and keeps marijuana out of the hands of children.
Second bill, the “Marijuana Tax Revenue Act of 2015” was introduced by Earl Blumenauer and it would make all non-medical marijuana taxable. The federal excise tax would start from 10% and raise gradually up to 25% over the years as the black market is replaced by the legal market,
The regulation would create civil and criminal consequences for people who neglect to comply, similar to the penalties currently in place in the tobacco industry. Medical marijuana would not be taxable.
“It’s time for the federal government to chart a new path forward for marijuana,” Rep. Blumenauer said. “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.”
By Blumenauer’s estimates, this new legislation could bring extra $10 billion annually by collecting tax money, and stopping Drug Enforcement Administration from arresting people for pot possession.