Members Of Congress Introduce Multiple Medical Marijuana Reform Bills

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 thoughts

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

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

  4. 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. 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. Been fighting to end this WAR on us for 30 years.
    Good news—WE ARE WINNING!! WE WILL WIN!!
    NO MORE DRUG WAR.
    Release all non-violent drug offenders.
    When we the people lead eventually the government servants will follow..
    Love Peace Pot & FREEDOM

  7. “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. 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. 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

  10. My sentiment in a recent letter to Washington State Gov. Gregoire was the same: How can we let the federal government rebuked what the citizens of our state have mandated, especially and ultimately when the federal law is WRONG.
    Someone has to stand up for whats right, I wish Washington State had a Governor who fought for us.

  11. There are good people out there being denied medication. Plus a huge untapped source of revenue that Pennsylvania a many others could use.

  12. This is indeed good news. Please take the time to e-mail your representatives in support of these bills. Please! Power to the people!

  13. Well here we go again folks.I am getting all excited and in my hart i know this bills wont pass.And how many of yall fell the same.Are we winning the war? Some say we are. Some Battles yes. But are we Reilly winning this war on us(No) We have to take stronger stance. If we start a war with the law they will impose marshal law And they will kill us. If one nut job goes out and start killing cop.s then they will say we have prove that this new grade of pot is so potent it make pot heads want to kill not like the pot heads of the 60 and 70. Hey i know we can start a town of our own and and. No then they will have real good reason to come in and bust every one there. Even if prop 19 had pass. Can u just see what they would do. I am not going to start killing cops are politician that don’t vote our way. I am just tird of this crap i don’t want my grand children to be able to go after school and get there cannabis from a friend or some one ells. We have to do some thing NOW

  14. Hey guys, just to tell all the Ron Paul voters in 2012, I have a bit of new for ya.
    So far, I dont believe any Republican Presidential candidate is being supported by the church. This leaves MILLIONS of unsure voters since they cannot grasp to their bullheaded ways and see homosexuality is alright and that abortion is not wrong, it is sensible. ANYWAYs, I have been going around my state, MISSOURI (bible belt country)and asking people who they are going to vote for. THEY ARE REALLY SAYING RON PAUL.
    Now, I know Ron Paul winning the Presidency is a very long shot, but at least its better than Obama. ALSO, maybe just maybe, the 2012 Presidency race will be Paul/Johnson or Johnson/Paul.

  15. i sure hope that congress and the senate allows debates to take place on these bills. its time that this country has debate on failed war on drugs. if obama does not help with this i guess i have to find someone else to support for president. i sure hate to vote for a damn republican but if gary johnson or ron paul is there i would in a heartbeat. lets get this done

  16. Ask as many people as you can one simple question to ponder.
    “Why doesn’t the government want full scientific disclosure?”

  17. I just wanted to get this right. And possibly inform some people who don’t know.
    As far as I’m aware, Marijuana is only listed as a Schedule I drug, because there are no “accepted medical uses”, and every other classification has a medical use.
    Using this same concept, tobacco could be listed as a schedule I narcotic. It has a high risk for addiction, and has been linked to cause cancer, among other things. On top of that, it has no accepted medical use.
    It’s disheartening to know this, and realize that tobacco is only exempt from that logic, because it’s big business and pumps money into our ever corrupt government.

  18. Greetings in the Name of the most HIGH JAH, rastafar-I, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, conquering lion of the tribe of Judah, His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie. JAH! Rastafar-I. lets give THANXS & PRAISHS to the few that have taken steps to free-up the BLESSED PLANT… help them by contacting your congressman, to move forward with this bill. onward NORLM soldiers… the ball is rolling….PEACE…

  19. @19 – Grassroots efforts are key in election cycles. I definitely hope Johnson can get more coverage and become more than a single issue candidate. He needs to talk more about shrinking the debt and the government and his record as NM Gov. It stands alone literally with more spending veto’s than any other governor in history and more than the other 49 Governors at the time combined(Over 750 with 1/3 from fellow Republicans and no tax increases in 6 years). Started with a debt and deficit and ended with a surplus.
    He beat out two separate Dem. challengers in a 2:1 Dem. state. (Taking right leaning Dem. votes from Obama will be key to any presidential victory as was Obama getting some left leaning Rep. votes) He has the ability lead and more importantly the balls to actually speak out and take action.
    Johnson/Paul 2012!

  20. Get ’em all passed. Outright, riders, I don’t care. Michell Leonhart will have to comply. Get it done before the bitch gives her response. I’ll relish the schadenfreude of knowing she pissed away a lot of time and effort on keeping cannabis prohibition in tact already in her written response and now has to go back and do it all over again to comply with the new laws and changes. If she’s smart she’ll just recommend the Feds change their stance on cannabis and basically go for the money-grab in the first place. It’ll be less work for her. When she gets burnt out of the job she can go through the revolving door and become a cannabis consultant for compliance. Make sure it pays her more than she could ever imagine making as drug czar.

  21. As a victim of pa strict marijuana laws i say it is time for a change the benifits out way the law in so many ways i will be sentenced on June 3rd for growing 9 plants a felony in Pa I am not a crimanal i am a human being following god law of be keeper of the plants of the earth of alls things bearing seed i will write my congressman and pressure is on for medical marijuana to be allowed in pa i will no longer be able to vote , own guns can’t drink alcohol, and let alone partake of the healing herb and practice my religon.

  22. Glad to hear we are moving forward, but it won’t be soon enough to save my 2 sons from 3 federal charges in Oklahoma, possession, possession with intent to distribute and cultivation of marijuana! We need to take marijuana off of the law books as a controled dangerous substance! PERIOD!

  23. I often think that most of America’s congressmen and senators are jerks and idiots; very sad – but true!
    It’s really nice to know they’re not all like that! There really is some hope for us to regain the many freedoms that most leaders seem to want to take away. There are a few that actually care and listen to what the people want and have to say! Them – I Salute!

  24. Glad to hear we are moving forward, but it won’t be soon enough to save my 2 sons from 3 federal charges in Oklahoma, possession, possession with intent to distribute and cultivation of marijuana! We need to take marijuana off of the law books as a controled dangerous substance! PERIOD!

  25. Frank and Paul? Aren’t those guys ALWAYS trying to do cannabis reform and ALWAYS failing? Should we even bother getting excited?

  26. I’ll soon be 69 yrs. young if I make august, and i’ve smoked mj since I was about 14. The federal goverment needs to butt out of our personal business. I finally retired at 62 because I got tired of all the random drug test that are forced upon us as truckers. Using pot is the only criminal act I do, and that’s because when the citizens don’t believe a law is just, then we’re forced to break that law.
    As far as getting anything passed in this corupt gov., that leans toward the citizens wishes, forget it !! It’s all about big oil and our war machine !! Separate and conquer, that’s govs. policy !! I wonder how many people will show up for march on the capitol, to demonstrate against the prohabition of pot !! I live 450 miles away, but i’ll be there with as many like minded folks that will fit in my truck . And I know many will come much farther !!
    This is not a partisan issue, it’s a people issue. It has nothing to do with your wealth, or standing in the community. This is about the majority of the people being able to tell our elected officials what we want !! And one last point, when our kids find out that we lied to them about the evils of pot, then they think we’re probably lieing about cocaine and herion also !! Now they’re threatening drs. that give out prescription pain drugs, that if the patient tests positive for pot. And to be refused a job stocking shelfs at wal-mart is just so wrong. Ha !! In so many ways !! If pot is such an evil drug, then why don’t the gov. want to research it !! The answer is the same as why are’nt all the wall st. criminals in jail, along with Bush, Chenney and Rumsfeld. Whay are we the most hated country on this planet, same answer !! I’m gonna go take a couple hits off my pipe, see you at the capitol !!

  27. It’s high time Washington gets there act together. Hey Obama and the rest of you yahoos on capitol hill, WAKE THE HELL UP!

  28. Something i would like to know…our federal government accepts federal tax money for the sale of prescription marijuana, yet it is still federally illegal to sell marijuana in even a medical capacity? Sooo…doesnt that mean that paying any kind of tax to the United States government means you are financially supporting an entity that receives cash for the sale of an illegal drug? Isnt that illegal in itself? I wish people would wake up and realize that our government no longer considers our declaration of independence and constitution to be anything more than very old toilet paper. The freedoms promised to the people of this country in the above mentioned documents no longer apply to the average person in this country. Canada looks more beautiful every day

  29. 39 Yoda
    “It’s high time government got its act together.”
    Wouldn’t that be wonderful. But – the fact of the matter is – “It’s high time for we the people to get our act together.” Government pulls its unadulterated shit because we the people “allow” Government to pull its shit. I’m reminded of a joke – “this guy says to the doctor, while lifting his elbow in the air – doctor, it hurts when I do that. The doctor replies – well! don’t do that.”

  30. 40. Azash
    “Our federal government accepts federal tax money for the sale of prescription marijuana, yet it is still federally illegal to sell marijuana in even a medical capacity?”
    By accepting tax – they are not only supporting its federal illegality – their complicit. The more states that become compassionate – the more we have the feds by their financial balls.
    Now -Azash – “They can burn our very old toilet paper – but – they can’t touch our American Spirit.”

  31. We will never achieve a peaceful solution to the War on drugs,in a world that is dominated by a war mentality.To believe that we could regain the level of Peace and good will that we possessed back in the late Sixties and early Seventies,before Nixon declared War on the people,is but a Dream.
    It really is a shame that the Lame laws of the prohibition machine have all but snuffed the roaring flame of Peace and Prosperity,and turned it into but a flickering speck in the night.

  32. I will try to schedule personal meeting with my representatives so I can lobby them on this issue, otherwise I will hand deliver written letters (remember those things!) to their Congressional office. I recommend every else do the same (send a hand written letter if you don’t live near D.C.) to make the biggest impact.
    I also concur with other posters, I don’t care what party you identify with this next election is literally about saving the economy and the best candidate for that issue, Ron Paul, also happens to be very sympathetic and vocally supportive of our cause so I’m gonna outright say that if you don’t support Paul in the primaries you fail as an intelligent human being because Obama is running our debt sky high and our economy right into the ground.
    I say Paul instead of Johnson because he’s more likely to capture the older conservative vote. Democrats who rightfully feel betrayed by Obama should see features in Ron Paul that they hoped to see in Obama: common sense economic policy, ending unconstitutional wars and questionable Bush era tactics (torture, Patriot Act etc), strong support for personal freedoms. The list goes on. RP is the man.

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