Pubdate: Sat, 21 Feb 2015
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2015 The Denver Post Corp
Authors: Jordan Steffen and Ricardo Baca
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


For the second time in two years, Colorado's U. S. Rep. Jared Polis 
has introduced legislation that effectively would legalize and tax 
marijuana at the federal level.

Along with a fellow Democrat, Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Polis 
on Friday introduced two bills, the first of which would remove 
marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and shift regulation 
from the Drug Enforcement Administration to the Bureau of Alcohol, 
Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The ATF then would regulate 
marijuana like alcohol.

A second bill would impose a federal excise tax on the sale of 
marijuana for nonmedical purposes and would include an occupational 
tax for marijuana businesses. The excise tax initially would be set 
at 10 percent and over time increase to 25 percent.

"Rather than be a medicinal substance, it would be a controlled 
substance like alcohol and tobacco, so there's still a federal 
interest in enforcement," Polis told The Denver Post on Friday. "It's 
important as we head into a presidential election. We don't know if 
the next president will have the same hands-off approach that Barack 
Obama and Eric Holder eventually found their way toward.

"And it is gaining more and more support because more and more 
members of Congress are hearing about these issues from their 
constituents, for whom the federal law is a problem."

Polis and Blumenauer introduced similar, unsuccessful bills in 2013. 
And in 2011, Polis introduced a bill to allow banks to carry business 
accounts of medical marijuana distributors and not face federal 
prosecution. That bill did not get a vote.

The proposed Marijuana Tax Revenue Act would establish civil and 
criminal penalties for people who do not comply and would require the 
IRS to study the marijuana industry and make recommendations to Congress.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom