Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) introduced a “Path to Marijuana Reform” bipartisan package of three bills that address taxation, banking, de-scheduling, decriminalization, research, and individual protections and regulation. Many of these topics are areas of concern for states who have legalized marijuana while the federal government still considers the plant a Schedule One narcotic. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) has also reintroduced legislation to treat cannabis regulation like alcohol.
The Small Business Tax Equity Act – This act would create an exemption to IRS code to allow businesses compliant with state laws to claim deductions and credits associated with the sale of the plant. Currently cannabis businesses are not entitled to any federal funding and are not allowed to have bank accounts making the business purely a cash business. Which creates further dangers and concerns for the industry.
Responsibility Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act – This act would remove federal penalties and civil asset forfeiture for individuals and businesses complying with state law. This act would ensure access to banking, research and advertising, expunge criminal records for certain marijuana related offenses, prohibit drug tests for marijuana in legal states for federal civil service jobs, and ease barriers for medical research.
Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act – This act would essentially regulate marijuana like alcohol imposing tax regimes on products and allow for permitting of such businesses.
While these are great steps towards cannabis reform it is not likely that the Trump administration will pass any of these initiatives. White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer has made comments that there will likely be an increase of enforcement in recreational states. Spicer also concluded that the increase in opioid addiction could be loosely related to condoning cannabis usage. Trump does support medical usage and will continue to do so, and has previously been quoted stating that it should be a “state by state issue.”
Only time will tell what will happen with federal legislation on marijuana, but make no mistake states are legalizing and exercising their rights to do so.