Some lawmakers in DC are making a big push for states’ rights when it comes to the issue of marijuana. Two bills have been recently introduced that would end federal control over marijuana and tax it, as well. Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) sponsored the two House Resolutions.
The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, or HR 1013, would permit states to establish their own marijuana regulatory policies without interference from the federal government. It would also remove cannabis from the United States Controlled Substances Act. If passed, the DEA would have no power to enforce anything regarding marijuana including possession, production and sales. Marijuana would be inserted into the law that governs "intoxicating liquors," so all enforcement would shift to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. You can read the full bill by clicking here.
HR 1014, also known as the Marijuana Tax Revenue Act of 2015 would tax all non-medical marijuana sales. It would also impose an occupational tax for state-licensed marijuana businesses. The taxation would work the same way as the tobacco industry, with penalties for those who don’t comply. The initial tax is set at 10%, but will rise over time to 25%. The hope is the legal market will displace the black market.
The Justice Department has already made changes that would keep them from taking action on people abiding by their state laws. But, the Congressmen say the bills will protect people who are engaging in legal state activities from worrying that the federal government will change its mind and once again treat them as criminals.
Representative Blumenauer says, “It’s time for the federal government to chart a new path forward for marijuana.” That new path is going to cause nothing but headaches for employers across the country.
EBI is sponsoring a webinar on all of the new issues businesses are facing regarding the constantly changing marijuana laws. How do you handle employees using the now “legal” drug either for medical reasons or recreation? What if your state borders a state with legal pot? What are some of the changes you need to make to your drug screening policy? These are just some of the topics we will explore. You can register below.