DeathscytheX

Congress moves to make Big Hemp a reality.

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http://www.salon.com/2013/02/04/dems_move_to_change_federal_pot_laws/

SEATTLE (AP) — An effort is building in Congress to change U.S. marijuana laws, including moves to legalize the industrial production of hemp and establish a hefty federal pot tax.

While passage this year could be a longshot, lawmakers from both parties have been quietly working on several bills, the first of which Democratic Reps. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Jared Polis of Colorado plan to introduce Tuesday, Blumenauer told The Associated Press.

Polis’ measure would regulate marijuana the way the federal government handles alcohol: In states that legalize pot, growers would have to obtain a federal permit. Oversight of marijuana would be removed from the Drug Enforcement Administration and given to the newly renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms, and it would remain illegal to bring marijuana from a state where it’s legal to one where it isn’t.

The bill is based on a legalization measure previously pushed by former Reps. Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Ron Paul of Texas.

Blumenauer’s bill would create a federal marijuana excise tax of 50 percent on the “first sale” of marijuana — typically, from a grower to a processor or retailer. It also would tax pot producers or importers $1,000 annually and other marijuana businesses $500.

His office said Monday it doesn’t yet have an estimate of how much the taxes might bring in. But a policy paper Blumenauer and Polis are releasing this week suggests, based on admittedly vague estimates, that a federal tax of $50 per ounce could raise $20 billion a year. They call for directing the money to law enforcement, substance abuse treatment and the national debt.

Last fall’s votes in Colorado and Washington state to legalize recreational marijuana should push Congress to end the 75-year federal pot prohibition, Blumenauer said.

Washington state officials have estimated that its legal marijuana market could bring in about half a billion dollars a year in state taxes.

“You folks in Washington and my friends in Colorado really upset the apple cart,” Blumenauer said. “We’re still arresting two-thirds of a million people for use of a substance that a majority feel should be legal. … It’s past time for us to step in and try to sort this stuff out.”

Advocates who are working with the lawmakers acknowledge it could take years for any changes to get through Congress, but they’re encouraged by recent developments. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell last week came out in support of efforts to legalize hemp in his home state of Kentucky, and U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., is expected to introduce legislation allowing states to set their own policy on marijuana.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has indicated he plans to hold a hearing on the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws and has urged an end to federal “mandatory minimum” sentences that lead to long prison stints for drug crimes.

“We’re seeing enormous political momentum to undo the drug war failings of the past 40 years,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, who has been working with lawmakers on marijuana-related bills. “For the first time, the wind is behind our back.”

The Justice Department hasn’t said how it plans to respond to the votes in Washington and Colorado. It could sue to block the states from issuing licenses to marijuana growers, processors and retail stores, on the grounds that doing so would conflict with federal drug law.

Blumenauer and Polis’ paper urges a number of changes, including altering tax codes to let marijuana dispensaries deduct business expenses on federal taxes, and making it easier for marijuana-related businesses to get bank accounts. Many operate on a cash basis because federally insured banks won’t work with them, they noted.

Blumenauer said he expects to introduce the tax-code legislation as well as a bill that would reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act, allowing states to enact medical marijuana laws without fear that federal authorities will continue raiding dispensaries or prosecuting providers. It makes no sense that marijuana is a Schedule I drug, in the same category as heroin and a more restrictive category than cocaine, Blumenauer said.

The measures have little chance of passing, said Kevin Sabet, a former White House drug policy adviser. Sabet recently joined former Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy and former President George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum in forming a group called Project SAM — for “smart approaches to marijuana” — to counter the growing legalization movement. Sabet noted that previous federal legalization measures have always failed.

“These are really extreme solutions to the marijuana problem we have in this country,” Sabet said. “The marijuana problem we have is a problem of addiction among kids, and stigma of people who have a criminal record for marijuana crimes.

“There are a lot more people in Congress who think that marijuana should be illegal but treated as a public health problem, than think it should be legal.”

Project SAM suggests people shouldn’t get criminal records for small-time marijuana offenses, but instead could face probation or treatment.

Ladywriter, Myk JL and Sledgstone like this

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They should legalize it already. That tax on it seems a bit excessive and would probably cause people to keep going to their dealers to avoid the tax. But with it being legalized people would still pay for it just for the convenience of being able to go to a store and pick it up when they want.

 

“There are a lot more people in Congress who think that marijuana should be illegal but treated as a public health problem, than think it should be legal.”

 

I think there are a lot of people in congress that are completely ignorant about marijuana. Alcohol, tobacco and prescription narcotics are perfectly legal but marijuana isn't. I remember a co-worker that was so sick, she had an antibiotic that was so powerful one of the side effects listed was "Death". That is a legal medicinal drug, but marijuana isn't. wtf.

Ladywriter likes this

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I never get my hopes up when it comes to the feds


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                                               Look at the flowers

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They should legalize it already. That tax on it seems a bit excessive and would probably cause people to keep going to their dealers to avoid the tax.

 

Cue the new Discovery series about illegally growing and transporting pot "every Wednesday after Moonshiners". :P


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lmao. I saw a tweet about that the other day. Moonshiners and Weed growers. XD

 

I just hope they don't start a meth reality show next. Its one thing to tackle a show about illegal activities with a semi legal or even legal substance.. but if they did a meth show, I think they'd have a lot of angry people.


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Bloomberg is a f*cking joke. Hes another one of those rich guys that buys their way into a position of political power and then forces their views onto others. Just like when he wanted to ban large sodas.. or when his term was up and he decided that wasn't long enough so he got term limits extended. pfft.


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Yeah the soda ban was such a stupid ass idea.. and then it was even more stupid when i found it didn't affect big chains... so only the small businesses would be left at a disadvantage... even if he did get it passed, whats stopping someone from buying 2 drinks? Idiot. If people want to drink big gulps and smoke weed, its their own business.... If someone gets fat and dies of poor health that's their choice... it didn't do anything to anyone outside of themselves. Whats next? You can only have 1 paddy on your burger and the only beer you're allowed to drink is O'douls and Sharp's? XD

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