Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

senate Bill S. 420

Should the Federal Gov’t Legalize & Tax Marijuana?

Argument in favor

The federal government should legalize and tax marijuana as it’s a substance no more harmful than alcohol or tobacco that would stimulate legal economic activity and reduce the strain on law enforcement resources. States should be able to regulate marijuana how they see fit without federal overreach.

Argument opposed

Marijuana is a harmful substance that serves as a gateway to harder drugs — the federal government shouldn’t legalize it. Letting states make their own decisions about legal marijuana would be a mistake that’d be seen as a public health mistake as the impact of marijuana use becomes clearer.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Finance
    IntroducedFebruary 7th, 2019

What is Senate Bill S. 420?

This bill — the Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act — would legalize marijuana by taking it off the list of controlled substance, in addition to imposing a 25% excise tax on recreational marijuana sales and letting states develop regulate marijuana as they do alcohol. The Controlled Substances Act would be amended to impose penalties for shipping or transporting marijuana into any state or jurisdiction where it is illegal. It’d also be illegal to sell more than one ounce of marijuana in a single retail transaction.

Industrial hemp and FDA-approved therapeutic items containing marijuana would be exempt from the excise tax, as would products used for research or nonconsumption. The transfer of marijuana products between production, import, and export facilities would be exempt from the tax and a credit or refund must be issued for products that are withdrawn from the market, lost, or destroyed.

Producers, importers, and exporters of marijuana products would be required to:

  • Obtain a permit and a bond covering tax liability from the Treasury Dept. prior to beginning operations;

  • Meet recordkeeping requirements;

  • Comply with certain policies and restrictions regarding packaging, labeling, and advertising.

Impact

Marijuana users and businesses; states; and relevant federal agencies.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 420

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) — whose home district, Oregon, has legalized recreational marijuana — reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to legalize and tax marijuana:

“The federal prohibition of marijuana is wrong, plain and simple. Too many lives have been wasted, and too many economic opportunities have been missed. It’s time Congress make the changes Oregonians and Americans across the country are demanding.”

Last Congress, Sen. Wyden (D-OR) introduced this bill to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana in conjunction with two other proposals to lessen the gap between federal and state marijuana policies and let marijuana businesses access tax credits and deductions:

“The federal government must respect the decision Oregonians made at the polls and allow law-abiding marijuana. This three-step approach will spur job growth and boost our economy all while ensuring the industry is being held to a fair standard.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), the House sponsor of this bill, adds

"Oregon has been and continues to be a leader in commonsense marijuana policies and the federal government must catch up. The American people have elected the most pro-cannabis Congress in American history and significant pieces of legislation are being introduced. The House is doing its work and with the help of Senator Wyden’s leadership in the Senate, we will break through.”

The National Cannabis Industry Association, the U.S.' largest cannabis industry association, supports this bill, calling it a "boon" for marijuana businesses. Its executive director, Aaron Smith, says:

“This legislation would be a boon for the cannabis industry and for states that have enacted effective laws, but it is vital that the federal tax rates be established in a way that does not incentivize the continuation of the illicit market. It is equally important that small businesses, which would be disproportionately impacted by heavy federal taxes of any sort, be allowed to stay competitive in the industry.”

The anti-marijuana legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana opposes this bill. Its president, Kevin Sabet, argues that this bill would "allow for and encourage the establishment of an industry that regularly produces and markets kid-friendly, high potency pot products.” He adds

"Th[e marijuana] industry is no longer about the Woodstock hippies, it’s about Wall Street. The legacy of marijuana legalization is not social justice, tax revenues, and reduced prison populations. Instead, legalization is connected to increased drugged driving fatalities, skyrocketing emergency room visits, the marketing of pot to pregnant women, continued arrest disparities and increased heavy and dangerous use.”

This bill has had no Senate cosponsors in either session of Congress (116th and 115th) that it's been introduced in.


Of Note: This bill is one of three that Sen. Wyden and Rep. Blumenauer are introducing together in a legislative package called the Path to Marijuana Reform. In totality, the three bills in this package — the Small Business Tax Equity Act (S. 422), the Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act (S. 421), and this bill — pave the way for responsible federal regulation of the legal marijuana industry and provide certainty for state-legal marijuana businesses.

Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: UrosPoteko / iStock)

AKA

Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act

Official Title

A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for the taxation and regulation of marijuana products, and for other purposes.

    It has been a long time coming. The government has more than enough information which favors reclasification and legalization. I have a major anxiety disorder and would rather be able to use marijauna than have to take two different antidepressants and Benzos to cope. It creates jobs and a ton of revenue which is good for the country as a whole. It is so F@#$%!! stupid when "we the people" see the writing on the wall but the people that are supposed to represent us don't get it done. "FOR THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE"
    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
    It is long overdue to have marijuana be legal at the federal level
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    The federal government should legalize and tax marijuana as it’s a substance no more harmful than alcohol or tobacco that would stimulate legal economic activity and reduce the strain on law enforcement resources. States should be able to regulate marijuana how they see fit without federal overreach. & USC ARTICLE 4 SECTION 2 [paraphrase] All Citizens of the various states shall have the same privileges and immunities of
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    Whatever needs to be done do it!
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    Marijuana should have never been illegal. It was made illegal for political reasons, under false pretenses, and now we are under the rule of a generation of lawmakers and voters who were fleeced by the reefer madness BS. It is less harmful than tobacco or alcohol, and it is not a gateway drug except in the sense that you currently have to buy it from a dealer in 39 states unless you have a medical card, and its illegality engenders disrespect for the law. Laws need to reflect the will of the people, which is clear on this issue. It is not the government's job, responsibility, or mandate to protect me from myself. If you don't like or need marijuana, then don't use it. But don't criminalize what i do with my body. The war on drugs was a failure, it was obviously the wrong approach. Furthermore, medical cannabis helps millions of Americans, so the thought of it being schedule I is ridiculous because that is inconsistent with the very description of Schedule I on the basis of its efficacy alone, not to mention that its not highly addictive, its not even close. Lets get on with it, i don't care who gets the credit, its long past time we stop locking otherwise law abiding Americans in cages for having some useful plant matter that grows wild in our land and was cultivated by our early statesman and settlers. A quick note to the sneakyshills in the operahouse and others regularly posting in opposition to reforming these laws without citing any real reason: get out and talk to some real people, or just get out of the way.
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    Government for the people, by the people..?? Right??? Legalize marijuana!!! The polls indicate over and over that is what the people want!!! It is still we the people!! Right???
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    It really doesn't matter it can't be brought up for a vote as long as assholes like Iowa's grassley blocks it for consideration. Now they can't vote on that bill.vote them out no more second or third chances for them to prove they work for the American public.
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    State by State. Township by township
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    End this prohibition. This will not stress our justice system and law enforcement, it will allow them to focus on larger issues. I myself am a first responder who suffers from PTSD. I should have the right to chose my own medication. More and more people are supporting this issue every day. Please do more research so you have a better understanding of this can benefit us all.
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    http://mag.time.com/Y9sQdQg - cops search a Cancer patient in the hospital. For pot. But you guys are using Legalization as a fucking PROP for the 2020 election when you can do something about it now. You disgust me.
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    Please whatever it takes to get lives saved doit!
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    Legalize Nationwide now do what's right for everyone.
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    Under the U.S. Constitution, the federal government has no authority to forbid the use of any drug. Such matters are left to the states, as the 9th & 10th Amendments confirm. For the feds to have power over drugs, a Constitutional Amendment would have to be passed, giving them that power. Therefore, all federal drug laws are invalid, illegal, and are an usurpation of power.
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    Yes decriminalize and legalize federally, let it be another revenue of income at the local and federal level. I think another good idea is to have marijuana growing licenses and tax them yearly, and anyone caught growing their own marijuana be ticketed and fined. People are going to get high regardless, might as well try and profit.
    Like
    Follow
    Share