Senator Ron Wyden and Congressman Earl Blumenauer introduced “The Path to Marijuana Reform” this week. As provided for in the executive summary linked in the previous sentence:
The Path to Marijuana Reform includes three bills that pave the way for responsible federal regulation of the legal marijuana industry, including:
- Small Business Tax Equity Act This legislation would repeal the tax penalty that singles out state-legal marijuana businesses and bars them from claiming deductions and tax credits.
- Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act This legislation would reduce the gap between Federal and State law by removing federal criminal penalties and civil asset forfeiture for individuals and businesses acting in compliance with state law. It would also reduce barriers for state-legal marijuana businesses by ensuring access to banking, bankruptcy protection, marijuana research, and advertising. It would protect individual marijuana consumers in states that have legalized marijuana, by providing an expungement process for certain marijuana violations, ensuring access to public housing and federal financial aid for higher education, and ensuring that a person cannot be deported or denied entry to the U.S. solely for consuming marijuana in compliance with state law. Finally, it would remove unfair burdens by ensuring veterans have access to state-legal medical marijuana, and protecting Native American tribes from punishment under federal marijuana laws.
- Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act This legislation would responsibly deschedule, tax, and regulate marijuana. It would impose an excise tax on marijuana products similar to current federal excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco, escalating annually to a top rate equal to 25 percent of the sales price. Marijuana producers, importers, and wholesalers would be required to obtain a permit from the Department of Treasury, and the marijuana industry would be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol. Strict rules would prohibit sale or distribution of marijuana in states where it is illegal under state law.
What does this mean?
Of particular note is the Small Business Tax Equity Act. This bill is notable because it is a potential fix to the massive problem of 280E but is also co-sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) is sponsoring companion legislation in the House. Curbelo is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversee all tax-related legislation. This is a great step forward for the cannabis industry in garnering bi-partisan support.