Here in Oregon, where we stopped putting people in jail for possessing marijuana about forty-five years ago, we’ve been at the forefront for progressive policy for decades, at least when it comes to the leaf. That’s why we’re pleased to see that two members of Oregon’s congressional delegation are leading the push for more liberal laws at the federal level when it comes to cannabis. Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Earl Blumenauer have joined forces to introduce companion legislation in both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate that sharply change the way that cannabis is regulated in America.
Today, three pieces of legislation have been introduced. The first bill, the Small Business Tax Equity Act, “would treat state-legal marijuana businesses like other small businesses by repealing the tax penalty that singles out marijuana businesses and bars them from claiming deductions and tax credits,” according to a press release put out by the office of Senator Ron Wyden. Rep. Blumenauer will introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives, and the bill has Republican co-sponsors in both houses of Congress.
The second piece of legislation, the Responsibly Addressing The Marijuana Policy Gap Act, would clarify the law to ensure that marijuana businesses who are compliant with state law will have access to banking services, and would not be subject to civil forfeiture of their assets on account of state-compliant marijuana business.
The Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act, also introduced by Senator Wyden, is the big one. It would make weed legal. Everywhere. In. America. Tax it, sell it, and regulate it like alcohol is the basic model.
We’re not holding our breath for the passage of the any of these bills anytime soon. The reality of Republican control of both houses of Congress is that they’re unlikely to even get a committee vote before January 2019 at the earliest. All the same, this is a big step in the right a direction, a reason for Oregonians to be proud, and another reason to vote for Democrats.