February 08,2019

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Nicole L’Esperance (202) 224-4515

Wyden Introduces S. 420 to Legalize Cannabis

S. 420 included in legislative package introduced by Wyden and Blumenauer to lay foundation for responsible, comprehensive federal regulation of marijuana

Legislative package also empowers states to implement own marijuana laws

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today announced introduction of S. 420, the Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act, legislation that would responsibly legalize, tax and regulate marijuana at the federal level. 

This legislation is one of three bills introduced in the Senate by Wyden and introduced in the House of Representatives by senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee Representative Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., to preserve the integrity of state marijuana laws and provide a path for responsible federal legalization and regulation of the marijuana industry. The legislative package—the Path to Marijuana Reform—also includes S. 421, the Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act, which would shrink the gap between federal and state marijuana policies, and S. 422, the Small Business Tax Equity Act, which prevents legal marijuana businesses from getting hit with an unfair tax bill.

“The federal prohibition of marijuana is wrong, plain and simple. Too many lives have been wasted, and too many economic opportunities have been missed,” Wyden said. “It’s time Congress make the changes Oregonians and Americans across the country are demanding.”

“Oregon has been and continues to be a leader in commonsense marijuana policies and the federal government must catch up,” said Blumenauer. “The American people have elected the most pro-cannabis Congress in American history and significant pieces of legislation are being introduced. The House is doing its work and with the help of Senator Wyden’s leadership in the Senate, we will break through.”

The Path to Marijuana Reform, which was first announced by Wyden and Blumenauer in the 115th Congress, includes the following three bills:

Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act (S. 420)

This legislation would responsibly de-schedule, 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.

Legislative text can be found here.

Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act (S. 421)

This legislation would reduce the gap between federal and state laws by removing federal criminal penalties and civil asset forfeiture for individuals and businesses complying 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 protect Native American tribes from punishment under federal marijuana laws.

Legislative text can be found here. 

The Small Business Tax Equity Act (S. 422)

This legislation would treat state-legal marijuana businesses like other small businesses by repealing the tax penalty that singles out marijuana businesses and bars them from claiming deductions and tax credits.  

Legislative text can be found here.