With more than 66 percent of Americans now supporting the legalisation of marijuana, a bill aiming to regulate and tax the substance similarly to alcohol has been introduced by the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, Ron Wyden (D-OR).
The Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act, which lovingly bears the bill number S.420, would create a framework from which each US state could choose their own legislation where cannabis is concerned.
S.420 centres on four keys outcomes:
- The bill would remove marijuana from the DEA’s Schedule I list of drugs, where it currently resides next to substances like heroin and LSD.
- The bill would impose similar taxes on legalised cannabis products to the ones currently imposed on alcohol and tobacco. These would eventually equate to 25 per cent of the product’s sale price.
- Under S.420, marijuana “producers, importers and wholesalers” would have to register for a permit with the Department of Treasury.
- States that opt to continue the prohibition of weed would be supported by the bill, with a federal ban on the the sale and distribution of marijuana supported there.
S.420 is the companion to the bill H.R.420, introduced by Oregon Democrat, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, the senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
The push responds not only to Oregon’s successful legalisation of cannabis, but to the federal government’s misconceived War On Drugs, which has created issues in pot-legal states.