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. Alan Clayton says:

      It’s been well over long enough that we have left people relying on addictive medicines just because marijuana is continued to be treated like some hard narcotic.

      Let’s stop alcohol, Rx and cigarettes companies from running this country.

      I’m 59 and I can’t believe that in a country that has put a man on the moon, we still consider marijuana an illegal drug.

    2. A Concerned American Citizen says:

      Be sure to write your reps urging their support for these bills! This is all overdue good news!

    3. CaptainTanqueray says:

      Thanks NORML.. keep it up.. and see if you can figure out what’s up with the DOJ..

    4. Jed The head says:

      I have little hope that these measures will make it to the floor for a vote, but it is very encouraging to see these Representatives doing the right thing. When their message becomes the majority in both houses we will finally see this policy change. We are very close to achieving that goal because of everyone that is speaking out on this problem. Thank you and Never give up.

    5. Patient says:

      Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest
      national member-based organization of patients,
      medical professionals, scientists and concerned
      citizens promoting safe and legal access to
      cannabis for therapeutic use and research.

    6. Mark Printz says:

      Been fighting to end this WAR on us for 30 years.
      Good news—WE ARE WINNING!! WE WILL WIN!!
      Release all non-violent drug offenders.

      When we the people lead eventually the government servants will follow..

      Love Peace Pot & FREEDOM

    7. The American Genesist says:

      “Protect our state sovereignty” What??? is that an echo I hear. The Government Supremacy Clause shits all over state sovereignty – “If ya let it.” Best case example – Montana. A courageous leader saved Montana – and – they’re still at it with nuisance suits. Protect your state sovereignty. “All went and gave some – some went and gave it all.”

    8. Mason says:

      Lord, it’s about time. I was starting to think that secession was the only option, or a civil war. I’ve been pissed off to the point of revolution by the Federal raids and violations of fourth amendment rights. Go Paul Stark Frank and Polis! And while you’re there, see about some privacy laws as well!

    9. DRodman says:

      Is there a chance that any of these will pass?

    10. ledonne says:

      Make up to one oz legal for every half oz over its a 2000 dollar fine no more than one oz in a vehicle at one time no matter how many people in the vehicle only sell to people of 21 or older sale to 18-20 5000 dollar fine 16-18 10000 dollar fine 16 and under 20000 dollar fine and 5 years in prison if u want to sell it must pay a 500 dollar dealer fee and 250 dollars a month must not have any felonys have offical documents submitted to goverment weekly stores can only sell to people on certain hours no over night hours all other illegal drugs x2 on penaltys