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Members Of Congress Introduce Multiple Medical Marijuana Reform Bills

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 25, 2011

    A coalition of United States House lawmakers — led by NORML 2011 national conference keynote speaker Jared Polis (D-CO) — today introduced a trio of measures in Congress to reform federal marijuana laws. The measures are:

    The Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act;
    The Small Business Banking Improvement Act of 2011; and
    The Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2011.

    Representative Polis has issued the following press release outlining the significance and the intentions of these measures.

    Bipartisan Coalition Urges Sensible Drug Policy
    Introducing Three Bills to Protect Access to Medical Marijuana

    Washington, May 25 – In a sign of growing bipartisan Congressional support for reforming our nation’s drug laws, a coalition of Republicans and Democrats today offered three bills that would ensure fair treatment of cannabis businesses under tax and banking law, and change existing law to reflect the medical efficacy of marijuana. The bills were authored by Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA), Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO).

    Stark’s bill – the Small Business Tax Equity Act – would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to take the full range of business expense deductions on their federal tax returns, just like every other legal business is permitted to do under the law. It is co-sponsored by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), as well as Frank and Polis.

    “Our tax code undercuts legal medical marijuana dispensaries by preventing them from taking all the deductions allowed for other small businesses,” Stark stated. “While unfair to these small business owners, the tax code also punishes the patients who rely on them for safe and reliable access to medical marijuana prescribed by a doctor. The Small Business Tax Equity Act would correct these shortcomings.”

    The States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, authored by Frank and co-sponsored by Stark, Polis and Rohrabacher, would make individuals and entities immune to federal prosecution when acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. It would also direct the administration to initiate the process of rescheduling marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act so that it is placed in a schedule other than Schedules I or II.

    “The time has come for the federal government to stop preempting states’ medical marijuana laws,” Frank said. “For the federal government to come in and supersede state law is a real mistake for those in pain for whom nothing else seems to work. This bill would block the federal prosecution of those patients who reside in those states that allow medical marijuana.”

    Polis’ Small Business Banking Improvement Act, which is cosponsored by Stark, Frank and Paul, would ensure that medical marijuana businesses that are state-certified have full access to banking services by amending the Bank Secrecy Act.

    “When a small business, such as a medical marijuana dispensary, can’t access basic banking services they either have to become cash-only—and become targets of crime—or they’ll end up out-of-business,” said Polis. “In states that have legalized medical marijuana, and for businesses that have been state-approved, it is simply wrong for the federal government to intrude and threaten banks that are involved in legal transactions.”

    Stark and Polis welcomed Congressman Paul’s support for their bills.

    It is time to get the federal government out of state criminal matters, so states can determine sensible drug policy for themselves,” added Paul. “It is quite obvious the federal war on drugs is a disaster. Respect for states’ rights means that different policies can be tried in different states and we can see which are the most successful. This legislation is a step in the right direction as it removes a major federal road block impeding businesses that states have determined should be allowed within their borders.”

    NORML and many of our allied organizations have been working closely with the staff of Reps. Frank, Polis, and others on these measures, and we commend these representatives for courageously standing up for the rights of patients and their providers. NORML will have more information about these bills, and how you can contact your members of Congress in support of these efforts, imminently in our ‘Take Action Center.

    57 Responses to “Members Of Congress Introduce Multiple Medical Marijuana Reform Bills”

    1. Ray says:

      maybe, because of this I might get out of my wheelchair!!!!!

    2. Jeanne says:

      Congress should do some thing about medical marihuana, like making it legal!It should make marijuana legal across the board.

    3. slojoe says:

      god its a great time to be alive!!!!

    4. hotczechdeb says:

      I lived in New Mexico during the time Gary Johnson was in office, and he’s a very open minded, intelligent politico. Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with MS & it hit HARD. I was put on so many opiates, benzos, muscle relaxants – the list is a mile long, until I was no longer even a remote semblance of myself. Long story short, I took myself off and ended up on the very psy/detox unit I worked on! I was put (and kept) on Methadone for another 3 years. I moved to Texas & because Methadone is cheap, I was told I would have to stay on it. So I took myself off – and I do NOT advocate doing that at home to anyone – very dangerous – and did my own detox & withdrawal at home. It was the worst hell I could have ever imagined.

      When I lived in NM., I told all of my doctors that pot relieved the neuropathy, the burning, the pressure behind my eyes, and made me feel “norml” – and thier response (collectively) was ‘Then do it, Deb. Just be careful, don’t get caught, and it didn’t come from me”.

      Now NM has the medical MJ law – I wouldn’t have had to make my husband drive me to a sleazy part of town last night, meet up with this hood I’ve only met once because he hit me up for cigarettes & money, so I asked him if he had any pot – which he did, so I got it, thankfully, but in return he now wants “somethin’ for me” – and asked me right in front of my husband for a bj & some p#*$$y before he gave it to me – having already paid for it, gave him an extra $5 (I’m on SSDI) & a pack of smokes. I told him I was sick, so mercifully, he let it go.

      Now I ask you: If Ron Paul were so hot about this, don’t you think maybe he might really push harder here in his own state? We have a mannequin of a governor here who has a great smile, firm handshake & a good old boy system. RP hasn’t shown me much, when I think about last night.

      I’m thankful for Barney Frank & the others for not giving in and fighting the good fight, but folks, this is just a way of showing those like myself that our Powers that Be are tolerating us enough to bring it in, then shine it on like every other time.

      Do I sound like a stoned crazy drug addict? I son’t because I’m not. I’m a 52 year old woman who is a functional “pothead” – for lack of a better term. I don’t “party”, run a den of iniquity, drive high or any other crazy thing. I have 4 grandchildren who WILL understand when they’re old enough that mj is medicinal. It’s an herb. It’s here for a reason – always has been. It also promotes happiness, creativity in those of us who are artisically inclined, and does not lead to other drug use – in fact, like in my case, helps those who DO NOT want to be on hard, addictive sh#*t that is so widely “pushed” on us by our Dr.s who take those extra vacations, but bigger homes & boats from becoming “drug pushers”.

      Totally unnecessary, folks. The doctors today are worse than the a##hole i had to buy a little bag of weed from last night – at least I didn’t feel raped – like I did with them.

      Sorry so long, but i’m hot about this. Guess in summary, I’m voting Gary Johnson…maybe if RP goes nose to nose with Pretty Boy here in Tx…..but that remains to be seen.

      Peace to all of you. Now I need to go breathe. Thank you for the forum to let me get this out.,,and if anyone wants a testimonial, I’m definately your gal.
      Good luck to all of us – and we just need to do what we need to do & ‘keep on keepin’ on”. I know I will.

    5. reality says:

      It just like every other drug. It just take give government an stress time on control the profit and reguarltion on it…… we just need to find an middle on this issue . An save lives…. or make it enjoyable.

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