U.S. Representatives Propose Pro-Pot Legislation

Last Wednesday, several members of the United States House of Representatives formed a coalition headed by Representative Jared Polis (D-Colorado), who was the keynote speaker at this year’s NORML national conference.

The purpose of the coalition was to introduce three measures meant to reform federal marijuana laws. Those measures are:

  1. The Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act
  2. The Small Business Banking Improvement Act of 2011
  3. The Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2011

In order to fully explain the scope and significance of these three proposals, Representative Polis issued the following press release, printed here in its entirety:

Bipartisan Coalition Urges Sensible Drug Policy
Introducing Three Bills to Protect Access to Medical Marijuana

Washington, May 25 – In a sign of growing bipartisan Congressional support for reforming our nation’s drug laws, a coalition of Republicans and Democrats today offered three bills that would ensure fair treatment of cannabis businesses under tax and banking law, and change existing law to reflect the medical efficacy of marijuana. The bills were authored by Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA), Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO).

Stark’s bill – the Small Business Tax Equity Act – would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to take the full range of business expense deductions on their federal tax returns, just like every other legal business is permitted to do under the law. It is co-sponsored by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), as well as Frank and Polis.

“Our tax code undercuts legal medical marijuana dispensaries by preventing them from taking all the deductions allowed for other small businesses,” Stark stated. “While unfair to these small business owners, the tax code also punishes the patients who rely on them for safe and reliable access to medical marijuana prescribed by a doctor. The Small Business Tax Equity Act would correct these shortcomings.”

The States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, authored by Frank and co-sponsored by Stark, Polis and Rohrabacher, would make individuals and entities immune to federal prosecution when acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. It would also direct the administration to initiate the process of rescheduling marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act so that it is placed in a schedule other than Schedules I or II.

“The time has come for the federal government to stop preempting states’ medical marijuana laws,” Frank said. “For the federal government to come in and supersede state law is a real mistake for those in pain for whom nothing else seems to work. This bill would block the federal prosecution of those patients who reside in those states that allow medical marijuana.”

Polis’ Small Business Banking Improvement Act, which is cosponsored by Stark, Frank and Paul, would ensure that medical marijuana businesses that are state-certified have full access to banking services by amending the Bank Secrecy Act.

“When a small business, such as a medical marijuana dispensary, can’t access basic banking services they either have to become cash-only—and become targets of crime—or they’ll end up out-of-business,” said Polis. “In states that have legalized medical marijuana, and for businesses that have been state-approved, it is simply wrong for the federal government to intrude and threaten banks that are involved in legal transactions.”

Stark and Polis welcomed Congressman Paul’s support for their bills.

“It is time to get the federal government out of state criminal matters, so states can determine sensible drug policy for themselves,” added Paul. “It is quite obvious the federal war on drugs is a disaster. Respect for states’ rights means that different policies can be tried in different states and we can see which are the most successful. This legislation is a step in the right direction as it removes a major federal road block impeding businesses that states have determined should be allowed within their borders.”

We at CannabisSearch.com hope these measures are passed, and if they are not, that they at least open up the issues surrounding medical cannabis for a broader public debate.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
This entry was posted in Legalization, Stoner Stuff and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to U.S. Representatives Propose Pro-Pot Legislation

  1. bryanfury85 says:

    Its too bad people are forced to take poison because the big pharmaceutical companies want to get paid

  2. SkillitHits247 says:

    That’s real talk bryanfury85. We can only hope that these federal laws will pass, there is still a lot of other representatives that need to agree; but some of these politicians have fundraisers funded by these big pharmaceutical companies, along with the lumber, paper, fuel, food, and clothing industries….. so they are not going to risk losing their funding and political status in society. That is why it is important to listen and know who you are voting for in office.

  3. kushie q says:

    Nothing more true has ever been said. More people need to pay attention to the politicians they are voted into office. Instead of looking only to see what political party they belong to we need to see where they stand on the issues. Then maybe we can actually reach a point where they are making laws that are FOR the people and allow the dispensaries to perform business like any other pharmacy where ill people get their medicine. Only then will we be at a point where the country gives mmj patients the opportunity for medicine just like all other individuals.

  4. lindzzz says:

    I hope that the politicians decide to represent people who they are supposed to. It is the will of the majority in every state that has passed some kind of medical cannabis legislation. The federal government can’t continue to ignore that.

  5. reese 10 says:

    The change is definatley on the horizon. Just the fact that these bills are a possibility shows how far we’ve come. The only way to end the madness and hypocracy is to make people aware of all the true reasons for MMJ prohibition. Once the true facts come to light and the truth is known there will be a big change. We also need to have support of medical journals that have data on the positive aspects of cannabis. When this occurs those large companies will not be able to con the public anymore.