Senator Introduces New Bill to Legalize Marijuana

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has brought a new bill to floor, which proposes that weed be taxed and regulated like alcohol and tobacco.

Weed in Denver

Image via Getty/Helen H. Richardson

Weed in Denver

With the overwhelming desire by Americans to legalizemarijuana, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, Ron Wyden (D-OR), has brought a new bill to floor, which proposes that the substance be taxed and regulated like alcohol, Rolling Stone reports.

As a hat tip to weed culture, the bill has been named S. 420, and is a partner to the House bill H.R. 420, introduced by a second Oregon Democrat, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, the senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

S. 420—which has been dubbed the “Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act”—would build a national structure for states to decide their own course on marijuana. According to Rolling Stone, the bill has four main parts.

First, the bill would take weed off the DEA’s list of Schedule 1 drugs, where it’s now classified with addictive substances like heroin.

Second, the bill would institute a federal excise tax on legalized cannabis products, similar to what the feds levy on tobacco and alcohol. The tax would ultimately rise to 25 percent of the sales price.

Third, the bill would necessitate that marijuana “producers, importers, and wholesalers” sign up for a permit with the Department of Treasury.

And fourth, the bill would back states that continue to place constraints on weed, with a federal ban on sales and distribution in that state.

Both 420 bills come from a state where legalization has been successful, and speak to the grievances of states where the substance is legal, and are frustrated with the federal government’s restrictions.

“The federal prohibition of marijuana is wrong, plain and simple,” Wyden said on Friday, per Rolling Stone. “It’s time Congress make the changes Oregonians and Americans across the country are demanding.”

Blumenauer applauded Wyden’s statement, urging the federal government must “catch up” to weed-legal states, and that it’s now time for “the most pro-cannabis Congress in American history” to follow through on the people’s wishes. “We will break through,” he said, according Rolling Stone.

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