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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Tue, 03 Mar 2015 04:20:21 PST

US Congress: Legislation Introduced To Get the Feds Out Of The Marijuana Enforcement Business

HR 1013, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, removes cannabis from the United States Controlled Substances Act

Washington, DC: Legislation was introduced Friday in the US House of Representatives to permit states to establish their own marijuana regulatory policies free from federal interference.

House Resolution 1013: the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, removes cannabis from the United States Controlled Substances Act. It also removes enforcement power from the US Drug Enforcement Administration in matters concerning marijuana possession, production, and sales - thus permitting state governments to regulate these activities as they see fit.

Said the bill's primary sponsor, Democrat Jared Polis of Colorado: "Over the past year, Colorado has demonstrated that regulating marijuana like alcohol takes money away from criminals and cartels, grows our economy, and keeps marijuana out of the hands of children. While President Obama and the Justice Department have allowed the will of voters in states like Colorado and 22 other jurisdictions to move forward, small business owners, medical marijuana patients, and others who follow state laws still live with the fear that a new administration - or this one - could reverse course and turn them into criminals. It is time for us to replace the failed prohibition with a regulatory system that works and let states and municipalities decide for themselves if they want, or don't want, to have legal marijuana within their borders."

Separate legislation, House Resolution 1014: the Marijuana Tax Revenue Act, introduced by Democrat Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, seeks to impose a federal excise tax on the retail sale of marijuana for non-medical purposes as well as apply an occupational tax for state-licensed marijuana businesses. Such commercial taxes would only be applicable if and when Congress has moved to defederalize marijuana prohibition.

"Together these bills create a federal framework to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, much like we treat alcohol and tobacco," said Rep. Blumenauer. "As more states move to legalize marijuana, ... it's imperative the federal government become a full partner in building a workable and safe framework."

Similar versions of these measures were introduced in the previous Congress but failed to gain federal hearings.

For more information about these measures and other pending marijuana law reform legislation, please visit NORML's Take Action Center at: https://norml.org/act

Alaska Legalization Law Takes Effect

Juneau, AK: Legislation enacted by voters in November legalizing the personal use and cultivation of marijuana took effect on Tuesday.

Fifty-three percent of Alaska voters approved Ballot Measure 2 on Election Day, permitting those over the age of 21 to lawfully possess up to one ounce of marijuana and/or to grow up to six marijuana plants (no more than three mature) for non-commercial purposes. Sharing or gifting personal use quantities of marijuana is also permitted under the new law; however the consumption of cannabis in public remains an offense.

Lawmakers will now begin the process of establishing licensing requirements for those who wish to commercially produce cannabis and/or engage in the plant's retail sale. State regulators have up to nine months to enact rules to govern these commercial entities and are expected to begin granting operator permits by February 2016.

Since 1975, Alaskans have enjoyed personal privacy protections based on a state Supreme Court decision allowing for the possession and cultivation of unspecified personal use amounts of cannabis in one's home. However, state lawmakers had never before codified these protections into law or permitted a legal market for marijuana production and sales.

Alaska is the third state - following Colorado and Washington - to enact legislation legalizing the personal possession of marijuana by adults and licensing the plant's retail production and sales. Oregon voters in November approved similar legislation (Measure 91), which is scheduled to go into effect this July.

Colorado: Marijuana Sales Total $700 Million in 2014

Denver, CO: Retail sales of marijuana totaled just under $700 million in Colorado in 2014 - the first full year during which sales of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes were allowed.

Total sales for the year were $699,198,805, according to data tabulated by the Colorado Department of Revenue. Sales of medicinal cannabis totaled some $386 million for the year, while marijuana sales at recreational outlets totaled $313 million.

Although retail sales of cannabis to anyone age 21 and older began officially on January 1, 2014, few commercial outlets were operational at that time.

Tax revenue from sales of recreational marijuana totaled some $44 million for 2014. That total includes revenues from the imposition of a special 10 percent sales tax and a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale marijuana transfers. Voters approved the special taxes on retail marijuana sales in 2013.

Colorado received an additional $32 million in revenue from the imposition of licensing fees as well as from state sales taxes paid on purchases of medical marijuana.

Commenting on the tax totals, Democrat state Senator Pat Steadman of Denver said that he is "very encouraged by what we're seeing so far. Everyone keeps calling this 'Colorado's experiment with marijuana legalization,' but so far everything seems to be working better than planned. ... Right now we're still rolling things out, but it just seems to be rolling out smoother than anyone expected."

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