Taxing Mary Jane
Marijuana Moment has heard that a new congressional legalization measure led by the Republican party is approaching. Proponents of the bill are positioning it as a middle ground between the GOP’s modest rescheduling proposal and the wide-ranging comprehensive legislation championed by Democratic leaders.
About the draft legislation
According to Marijuana Moment, the draft legislation, which Rep. Nancy Mace is spearheading, has been acquired in full (R-SC). States Reform Act is now being distributed among stakeholders for input and is thus preliminary, but a final version will likely be submitted later this month.
This is just the latest twist in a year that has seen a lot of activity on Capitol Hill concerning marijuana policy. There have been concerns voiced about the possibilities of Congress enacting the far-reaching and comprehensive marijuana legislation that Democrats are spearheading in the House and Senate. Mace’s bill seems to secure Republican support while still embracing restorative justice and taxation components that are popular with progressives. Bringing Republican support might be crucial to getting anything over the finish line.
There was just one Republican vote favoring a marijuana research bill for veterans during a Thursday committee markup, and the freshman congresswoman wants federal marijuana de-scheduling. Still, she also wants to ensure that established government markets aren’t harmed or undermined by any new rules that are put in place.
Details of the draft legislation
Based on the law and summary materials received by Marijuana Moment, below are some details:
- Cannabis would be de-scheduled by the federal government and treated similarly to booze in this regard.
- Cannabis sales would be subject to a 3.75% excise tax. The money raised might be used to fund grant programs that assist ex-offenders returning to society, law enforcement, and small companies applying for SBA loans.
- The TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) of the Treasury Department would oversee interstate traffic in marijuana.
- The FDA’s regulatory power would be restricted such that it would not have any more jurisdiction over cannabis than it has over alcohol, except medicinal marijuana. The agency could impose no ban on cannabis or its derivatives in non-drug applications such as in dedicated state medicinal marijuana products, nutritional supplements or foods and beverages or non-drug topicals. This might recommend serving sizes, certifying and approving pharmaceuticals obtained from marijuana.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture would oversee raw marijuana as an agricultural product.
- In securing patient access and encouraging participation in the legal market, the law would allow current state-licensed cannabis firms to be included in the federal framework.
- The safe harbor measures would safeguard patients and marijuana companies following current state laws while federal authorities attempt to develop standards.
- Non-violent federal cannabis offenses would be subject to clearance under the new law.
- In preventing underage usage, the law mandates a 21-year-old age limit for recreational marijuana use and several prohibitions on advertising.
- When it comes to marijuana enterprises, the SBA would have to handle them just like any other regulated industry.
- Veterans will not be discriminated against in government employment because of their use of cannabis, and physicians with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will be explicitly permitted to give medical cannabis recommendations for veterans.
- Federal authorities might still test for marijuana.
- An official report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the marijuana sector would be needed by Congress.
This is only a small fraction of the 116-page draft law, including a wide range of provisions. As the plan is completed before its official submission in Congress, the provisions are subject to change.
Other Republican offices may be engaged in the bill’s implementation, but many of them are not yet known. Mace’s office did not respond to Marijuana Moment’s request for comment at the time of publishing.