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Marijuana News February 5, 2013: U.S. Congress "Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act"
by Cris Ericson
Tuesday Feb 5th, 2013 2:00 PM
"Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act" was introduced today, Feb. 5, 2013, in the United States Congress, House of Representatives.
FEBRUARY 5, 2013

United States Congressman
Jared Polis
Washington, DC Office
1433 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2161
Fax: (202) 226-7840
Fort Collins Office
300 E. Horsetooth Rd. #103
Fort Collins, CO 80525
Phone: (970) 226-1239
Fax: (970) 226-8597Boulder Office
4770 Baseline Rd, #220
Boulder, CO 80303
Phone: (303) 484-9596
Fax: (303) 568-9007
Frisco Office
West Main Professional Building,
101 West Main Street, Suite #101G,
P.O Box 1453
Frisco, CO 80443
Phone: (970) 668-3240
Fax: (970) 668-9679

Washington, Feb 5 - 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.

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.

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.”

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;
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.