Proposed Legislation Would End Federal Marijuana Prohibition

Colorado Representative Jared Polis and Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer together proposed two pieces of legislation on Friday that would effectively end the federal prohibition of cannabis and introduce a system of regulation and taxation for the drug.

According to his website, Polis’ bill, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act (H.R. 1013), “removes marijuana from the schedule set by the Controlled Substances Act; transitions marijuana oversight from the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Agency to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and regulates marijuana like alcohol by inserting into the section of the U.S. Code governing ‘intoxicating liquors.'”

Representative Blumenauer’s proposal, the Marijuana Tax Revenue Act of 2015 (H.R. 1014), would establish a 10 percent excise tax nationwide on the non-medical sale of marijuana, which would increase over time to a 25 percent tax as the legal, regulated market eventually displaces the black market. The bill would also establish an occupational tax for individuals working in the cannabis industry, and sets up civil and criminal penalties for people who fail to comply.

According to Rep. Blumenauer:

“It’s time for the federal government to chart a new path forward for marijuana. 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.”


Photo Credit: Marc Fuyà