Now that former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Barney Frank (D-MA) have retired from the House of Representatives, two new lawmakers have stepped up to lead the push to reform marijuana laws.
Democratic Reps. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Jared Polis of Colorado plan to introduce a set of bills on Tuesday to pave the way for legal marijuana, according to the Associated Press.
The legislation would remove the federal government’s prohibition on marijuana and establish a federal marijuana excise tax. The bills would treat marijuana in manner similar to alcohol. State governments instead of the Drug Enforcement Administration would enforce marijuana laws, while the renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms would crack down on illegal state-to-state trafficking.
Other legislation to be introduced by Blumenauer and Polis would reschedule marijuana under the federal Controlled Substances Act, and change the tax code so that the IRS treats licensed marijuana dispensaries like other legal businesses.
“Marijuana policy at the state level has shifted abruptly in recent years as states have moved to legalize the drug for both medicinal and recreation use,” Blumenauer’s official House website states. “Unfortunately, federal marijuana policy remains rooted in the past, as all types of marijuana continue to remain illegal under federal law. It is time for Congress to face the facts surrounding marijuana, its use and regulation, and develop a legislative framework that accounts for the inevitable transition of marijuana policy – one that is already well under way.”
[Image via TEDxBoulder, Creative Commons licensed]