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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Congress' New Marijuana Champions Introduce Legalization Bill

Posted By on Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 6:45 AM

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Like the changing of the seasons and the movement of the tides, so too is the march of time marked by the annual show of members of Congress introducing marijuana legalization bills.

These bills go nowhere -- there's no way to force a bill to be heard by a committee -- but since they were introduced by Rep. Barney Frank and Rep. Ron Paul, they were at least bipartisan.

Those elder statesmen have moved aside, so now the new Capitol Hill cannabis heroes, Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), are continuing the quixotic tradition. Will they have help this year from across the aisle or from their own party?

The two lawmakers -- representing Boulder and Portland, respectively -- each rolled out a bill on Tuesday regarding the magic plant: Polis' "Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act" would end the DEA's involvement in marijuana, and Blumenauer's "Marijuana Tax Equity Act" would create a federal excise tax on marijuana, according to the lawmakers.

They've also published a study on what ending the war on marijuana would do to the country. Nothing bad, it turns out.

The Marijuana Tax Equity Act would create a 50 percent excise tax on the sale of marijuana. The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibiton Act would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and create a new federal bureaucracy called the "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana, and Firearms."

"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," Polis said in a statement. "Congress should simply allow states to regulate marijuana as they see fit and stop wasting federal tax dollars on the failed drug war."

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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