Legislation was introduced today in the Senate and House of Representatives that would end marijuana prohibition at the federal level and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol, according to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).
The bills would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, thus allowing states to determine their own marijuana policies, while imposing federal regulations on marijuana businesses in states that choose to legalize and regulate marijuana. A federal excise tax would be put on all marijuana products.
An additional bill introduced would reform section 280E of the U.S. Tax Code to allow state-legalized marijuana businesses to deduct ordinary and necessary business expenses from their federal taxes.
Robert Capecchi, director of federal policies for the MPP, said, “This is commonsense legislation that will eliminate the growing tension between federal and state marijuana laws. Voters and legislatures are rolling back antiquated state marijuana prohibition policies, and it’s time for Congress to step up at the federal level. States are adopting laws designed to improve public safety by replacing the illegal marijuana market with a tightly regulated system of production and sales. The federal government should be working to facilitate that transition, not hinder it. It’s time for Congress to come to grips with the fact that marijuana is safer than alcohol, and most Americans think it should be treated that way.”
Recent data from the General Social Survey found that the percentage of Americans who think marijuana use should be legal increased from 52% in 2014 to 57% in 2016. Another recent study by the Quinnipiac University poll found 57% of Americans support legalization.