Everything You Wanted to Know About the New Federal Marijuana Legalization Measures

Today, Representatives Jared Polis and Earl Blumenauer introduced two legislative measures that would end the federal prohibition on marijuana and permit for the regulated production and retail sales of cannabis to adults in states that have legalized its consumption.

Representative Polis’ legislation, The Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013, would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, transfer the Drug Enforcement Administration’s authority to regulate marijuana to a newly renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms, require commercial marijuana producers to purchase a permit, and ensure federal law distinguishes between individuals who grow marijuana for personal use and those involved in commercial sale and distribution.

Speaking on the bill, Rep. Polis stated, “This legislation doesn’t force any state to legalize marijuana, but Colorado and the 18 other jurisdictions that have chosen to allow marijuana for medical or recreational use deserve the certainty of knowing that federal agents won’t raid state-legal businesses. Congress should simply allow states to regulate marijuana as they see fit and stop wasting federal tax dollars on the failed drug war.”

Representative Blumenauer’s legislation is aimed at creating a federal tax structure which would allow for the federal government to collect excise taxes on marijuana sales and businesses in states that have legalized its use. The Marijuana Tax Equity Act, would impose an excise tax on the first sale of marijuana, from the producer to the next stage of production, usually the processor. These regulations are similar to those that now exist for alcohol and tobacco. The bill will also require the IRS to produce a study of the industry after two years, and every five years after that, and to issue recommendations to Congress to continue improving the administration of the tax.

“We are in the process of a dramatic shift in the marijuana policy landscape,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “Public attitude, state law, and established practices are all creating irreconcilable difficulties for public officials at every level of government. We want the federal government to be a responsible partner with the rest of the universe of marijuana interests while we address what federal policy should be regarding drug taxation, classification, and legality.”

You can use NORML’s Take Action Center here to easily contact your elected officials and urge them to support these measures.

These two pieces of legislation are historic in their scope and forward looking nature and it is likely you have many unanswered questions. NORML has compiled the below FAQs to hopefully address many of these inquiries.


Q: Would this make marijuana legal everywhere?
A: No, but it would allow states who wish to pursue legalization to do so without federal incursion. Currently, the federal government claims that state laws which have legalized medical and recreational marijuana use are in conflict with federal law. It is under this claim that they raid medical marijuana dispensaries, arrest consumers, etc. If these measures were to pass, marijuana law would be the domain of the states. If a state choses to legalize and regulate its use, it can do so in the way it would any other product and the federal government would issue permits to commercial growers and sellers and collect tax revenue. If a state choses to retain marijuana prohibition, they may as well, and the federal government would assist in stopping flow of marijuana into the state’s borders, as transporting marijuana from a legalized state into one retaining prohibition would still be illegal under this legislation.

Q: What does this mean for scheduling?
A: Marijuana would be removed from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and be listed under Title 27 of the US Code, alongside the provisions for intoxicating beverages.

Q: What does this mean for Washington and Colorado?
A: Colorado and Washington would be empowered to continue moving forward with implementing their marijuana legalization laws and no longer have to worry about federal intervention. Once cultivators and retailers were operational in those states, Rep. Blumenauer’s bill would allow the federal government to collect excise tax from those commercial entities and issue them permits.

Q: What happens to the DEA?
A: The DEA would no longer oversee marijuana law enforcement in this country. Control of marijuana enforcement would move to the newly named Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana, and Firearms and the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Bureau.

Q: What about home cultivation?
A: If you live in a state, like Colorado for example, that passes laws permitting citizens to grow for personal use you would be allowed to do so without running afoul of state or federal law. Federal permits and taxation apply to those engaged in commercial marijuana enterprises.

147 thoughts

  1. Well, if Obama is FOR this you know the Republican Party will automatically be against it, because, well, they’re immature douches…BUT, if Obama doesn’t voice his opinion maybe they’ll get enough republicans to go along with it.

  2. It’s about time. The laws surrounding Marijuana and it’s use have been extreme for years. It’s nice to see them finally taking measures to correct this.

  3. Wow this is absolutely amazing were doing it folks, its been a slow long drawn out battle but I can see victory, and victory never looked so good! You may take our lives, but you’ll never take our FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDOOOOOOOOMM

  4. Today is my birthday,
    I would like to thank NORML for all their efforts in keeping the public updated on how the laws can change daily. This isnt the greatest step the USA can take , but it is a step in th right direction. I love hearing that recognition is being reviewed by those who can change our mis guided laws.
    Happy birthday to Americans who believe……

  5. We do not need a national referendum. What we do need, is for people to stop voting for the craziest, biggest liars we can find!!! It doesn’t matter what system is in place if the people running it are liars out to defraud you and your community.

    People who never should have been elected in the first place:
    Richard Nixon
    George W. Bush
    William Clinton
    Richard Cheney
    Hillary Clinton
    Mitt Romney
    James McGreevy
    Michele Bachman

    Just to name a few people that have spent their whole lives ignoring our constitution and stepping on us, lying to us to make themselves feel better for half a second. What great people we’ve put in charge.


    Time for us to stand up and be heard people… we msth win this. Failire is not an option!. After this we can settle that ridiculous memo about killing americans whenever obama suspects them of terrorism. This country needs its people now more than ever.

  7. Our politicians on both sides of the isle are desperately needed to pass prohibition repeal. The people on this blog that are trying to make it a Democrat or Republican issue are wrong. In the past the American public has been successfully divided by our politicians. It’s the old “Divide and Conquer”. Do not let the people dedicated to this great effort be derailed by partisan politics. Many of us vote on both sides of the fence as independents. This is the time to stick together on this. If we do we will prevail. THINGS ARE LOOKING UP!

  8. Why can’t we go back to using the English word now that prohibition is ending? Spanish is fine, but “cannabis” is the English word, “marijuana” was always a propaganda term.

  9. I think it is about time I have been smoking to long to remember but I know I like it,so dont forget to use the NORML link at top to write your rep 🙂

  10. If we want this to be made law (and we do) we need to stop the stereotyping by calling people “Potheads” and “drug addicts” and things like that. We need to start calling it by it’s proper name “Cannabis”. If people keep degrading it the general public will continue to look down on it as a bad thing. We know its not bad….lets start to bring it up as a respectful thing that upstanding citizens enjoy as much as anyone.

  11. We need to stop using “DRUG” and Cannabis in the same sentence……its not a drug….all that stuff BIG PHARM puts out are drugs.
    Cannabis is a beautiful plant……grows naturally without any man-made help.

  12. Write your rep. Mine agrees with bill 6606 but still beleaves theirs no med. use for cannabis. he is a republican. keep pushing they will fall. God bless NORMEL.

  13. Hey guys, I am sorry to say, but I think this will fail. I am looking forward to this, but I don’t think it will be this year. There is still to much public opinion against it. As long as we have representatives taking funding from big pharm companies this will not pass. Never the less, I will be watching this and hoping. Even if it does fail, it won’t be much longer anyway. “You cannot sustain a lie forever.”

  14. The point is not if it is for medical or not…..the point is that its OUR CHOICE to use it as we are supposed to be FREE PEOPLE.

  15. I AM A 61 year old Vietnam being treated for cancer. I was being treated for hep. C diabetes,hypertension,bladder cancer and long nerve foot neuropathy. neuropathy was being prescribed oxycodone then morphine for pain for months. Once the metabolites for the medical marijuana was discovered in my urine, l was taken off all pain meds. The benevolent
    Doctors were OK giving me drugs that kill thousandsayear, but they drew the line at marijuana, a drug NEVER prove to kill 1 person, EVER. THEY stopped all my pain meds and forced me to go find a Medicaid Dr.to deal with my need for relief, costing me thousands of dollars I really can not pay for. Due to the fact that I worked for career pension,the cost to me for Medicaid will be $2000 a month.UNFAIR UNJUST UNBELIEVABLE that my own government would treat its own vets so callously

  16. This is good progress and some better news coming over from the States with regards this issue whilst giving hope to other people in other countries who support the same cause. Thanks.

  17. Not all Republicans are douches, just like not all Democrats are douches. We must all get along to get this to Pass Muster. Let’s all hope & pray that this bill gets passed and many Fellow Americans will be able to relax a bit & not have to look over their shoulders all the dam time. Wake up America!!!

  18. Before CO and WA fully legalized Marijuana, I would say without a doubt, something like this would Fail. I have a feeling, that if this initiative should fail, that it will not fail by a lot. It’ll then be rewritten, and then tried again. I believe something similar will eventually pass. It will probably take a few more States, to legalize, before the Feds realize, that this is something which is not going away. Hopefully, they will realize this, this time around. If they do, PA will follow a lot quicker. (Or I Just Wish They Will.)

  19. i think this is great for kids,,at least it will have its own place and not be own the street for kids to buy !! the drug war in the last 25 years has only created worse drugs and more problems and the cost is in the billions,, instead of cutting education and social security they need to get some kind of regulated system for certain drugs and quit wasting money and putting our kids in more danger,, its more dangerous for kids when drugs are on the streets,, just like if you make ar 15’s illegal they will be on the streets with the illegal drugs and this will not make anyone safe and i think its time we try doing things differently ,, before its to late for our kids !!!

  20. Ah.. As I predicted.. two years ago I said within 5-10 years or even less than that, America would achieve legalization of Marijuana.. It was inevitable. Nothing beats freedom, except more freedom!

  21. I’ve been smoking the “evil” marijuana for about 45 years now. During that time I’ve been a college teacher, obtained a commercial pilot’s license, been an exercise fanatic,and stopped smoking for months at a time without symptoms. In my opinion, the only damage that has been caused by marijuana has been to those poor souls that have been victimized by the unreasonable body of laws surrounding it.

    I’m encouraged by this new attempt to force common sense upon our demented legal system and decriminalize marijuana use.

  22. This is not the legislation you’ve been looking for, not that it has a prayer this session anyway. There is a 50% tax (which you should read as a starting point not an ending point) and broad language that will likely result in eventual regulatory hell. Wait for a better bill. The only thing this bill is good for is to start the conversation – and that is ok.
    You all should be looking for a bill that reschedules doesn’t get involved in yet another excise tax, and doesn’t impose a regulatory regime outside of import\export controls. The rest should be left to each State to sort for themselves.

    Rut – You are absolutely correct on that front and it’s something I’ve mentioned before here. Throwing around invective at a party or stereotype of one doesn’t help, in fact it hurts that cause, if people would drop that crap they might find they have more friends on the “other side” related to this issue then they have apparently been conditioned to think.

  23. I’m a pothead and proud of it. What is “sterotypical” about being a “pothead”? These are just associations after the fact. If you think “pothead” means something bad, it is because you’re brain washed!!! Saying someone is a pothead is accurate, saying they are a “drug addict” is not. Seriously using the words “drug addict” to refer to a pothead is what is not acceptable. Calling marijuana “dope” is not acceptable. Heroin is dope and you have to be a dope in order to use it.

    Please try and use our language better, thanks. BTW, _Cannabis_ is not English! It is Latin. The only English word we have is marijuana and we it got from the Mexicans. You know, our neighbors? There is no English word for it. Try calling it “Indian Mint”–this could be an English name for it. It really could use a name, since it is no longer a black market item…

  24. One of the foundation benefits of legalization is regulating it and eliminating the sellers that sell to our children, by replacing them with sellers that card for age.
    Under the tax proposals in Washington state and the proposed federal tax, for a grower to get 25$ an ounce, that ounce would sell for 300$, with the government getting the lions share. Do the math. 25 to grower, fifty to the feds, and 25 to the state. At producer/packager level there is another 25 percent. At the retail level there is another 25 percent tax, plus sales tax.
    Under such a system, the black market people will become public heroes in short order, and songs will be sung in their honor. Making something that is 100$ illegal price, into something that is 300$, legal price, is simply stupid and defeats much of the benefit of legalization by continuing to support the black market.

  25. glad to see this i just hope the worst president we have ever had osamabama dosnt pull his usual BS and overstep his powers and the president and somehow screw this up like he has everything else

  26. Another one of the various problems with the proposed language of legislation (H.R. 501 btw) – there is no safe harbor for a personal grow despite what Eric’s QA mentioned. In fact as it stands a person who say had a backyard grow for personal use only, not only would be deemed a “producer” by definition in the bill, requiring registration and related yearly fees, but upon consuming their own product would owe the tax on that product consumed. Don’t you dare give any to your friend for free either – now you’ve committed tax fraud. See definitions and pg10 – CERTAIN USES TREATED AS SALES to get a sense of what I’m talking about. Another gem as is typical of government you’re not allowed to include the price of the tax in your price.

    Things like the CSA are handled in the companion bill HR499 (should be available on Thomas in a day or two but you can find the draft on the web). This companion bill HR499 also offers no safe harbor, using similar language defining a manufacturer, though at least the intent of a commercial focus is more clear throughout that bill, and whatever legislative aid or lobby group crafted that one should get credit for including the related and needed cleaning up marijuana’s mention throughout various other parts of the US Code.

    While I can support H.R. 499 at present, I can’t H.R. 501 – nor do I see the necessity necessarily for H.R. 501 – other then as a DC money grab.

  27. Just what does marijuana have to do with alochol, tobacco, or firearms? Slow class, low class, or no class. The ATF was responsible for the fast and furious gun walking scheme, and I understand that about 1,400 guns are still unaccounted for. Maybe the ATF believed their own lies, and thought that dopers were slow class, and would make an easy bust. Furious? you bet I am! More like fast and loose with our nations bill of rights, very low classed. Letting the no class ATF take over regulating marijuana is just another insult to marijuana smokers, and a bad joke also.

  28. I’m not brainwashed because I think “pothead” means something bad. I just know when someone is referred to as a “pothead” it is always in a negative way…therefore a bad stigma is associated to the word. As long as we keep letting the general public show Cannabis in a negative light it will remain that way in the minds of others. We were raised in a way that “brainwashed” us to think that way and now we really need to change that misconception.

  29. How to end recession and make a lot of peoples lives better, and I’m sure if this this does go threw many states will soon follow in legalization. I hope the government will realize the benefits this would cause…. thanks to normal for their efforts in this cause, from PA ‘hopefully the third state to legalize’

  30. this is a step in the right direction. not perfect but will at least get things rolling, no pun intended. the legal weed entities in WA and CO are not able to obtain a federal bank account or properly manage their tax write offs without this passing and the class 1 schedule removed. The new code 27 will ensure it does. This would also make states not supporting legalization to change their laws, as marijuana would no longer be a schedule 1 “drug”. THIS IS A GREAT IMPROVEMENT! I do believe that it only helps until things are fine polished and operational for a few years to have proper data to relate to and make changes.

  31. I only have one thing to say- “Ooh, hell yea”! This is a begining that had begun many years ago when we were in D.C. with NORML holding our rallies. When I arrived, I went to the desk clerk at the Hotel and told him I was there to attend the NORML Conference and he said I have just the room for ya! YES he did. I still have the photo of the room and the door! You guessed right “420”! The clerk was wise even then. It was roughly 12-15 years ago. By the way I have been a “cannabis user” for 30+ years. THATS RIGHT, NORML, thanks for everything and every effort!!!

  32. If The Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013 is actually even looked at. The D.E.A. loses the right to justifiably use government funding to arrest Cannabis suppliers and users will be to big of a hit for them to willingly take.

  33. If this does remove marijuana from Schedule 1 then at the very least we can get research done on it much more easily in legal states and that will get proof to other states that it does have medical uses. Tho they might still go on that there’s not enough research but we all know that there’s drugs out there that get 6 months og testing and then go on market but 16 years of use as medicine alone is not enough and with pharmaceuticals its enough if 1000 people take it and dont don’t drop dead nevermind that marijuana has had over 1 billion test subjects.

  34. We all know its here and has been here for many more years thatn we have all be alive.
    How many more years are we going to waste talking about how to fix this, when we know how.

    Cannabis regulations.
    We all should have the right to grow. unless you are a renter or a person who leases property, then it would be up to you and the “land lord”
    Yes there should be taxes , we all know this but the ones producing the proposals are not in there right minds.
    Lets propose this…..
    $250.00 tax for grower recognition/year
    then $25.00 tax per female plant……
    8 plants per year allowance.
    2 mother plants ,as they are called.
    3 veging plants ,as they are called.
    3 flowering plants, as they are called.
    (unless permitted for Commercial Industry)
    This will be for personal use only.
    one must apply for additional permits for distrabution and said sales tax.
    SEll bands or zip ties that must be placed around the plants with ID numbers that can be cross referenced.
    All grow sites would be allowed by your local athorities upon request to view all said grow activities on premesses.
    all outside grows must be contained to be out of contact with te public.
    (all male plant should be regulated by hemp laws on a different bill that would allow for the production of industrial hemp)

    Why must the grab and dash be in play with every law that is said for the “end of prohibition”. this is not a get rich quick program, thre is a lot of hard work to be done.
    For those who are not in favor of regulation of cannabis, listen your opinions matter as well, however the problem is that you view cannabis consumers as a problem and dont realize that there all tax payers who have had a hand in building this country as well. I agree that you should have a hand in regulation of cannabis, but get it together 1937 is over so why must you try to re live it?
    Congress needs to get a plan together that is realistic and not some “Here is your tax stamp, now where is you cannabis, because you cant have the stamp unless you have the cannabis in hand ” crap out of the way.
    Try for a few laws to be what you are
    REpublicrats………Work together make things bennifit everyone. Those who are against regulation will never believe the world isnt flat..Meaning onesided people
    With all my opinions
    thanks for reading.

  35. It should be Bureau of alcohol, tobacco, CANNABIS, and firearms. That said, if it were up to me, it wouldn’t be grouped in ANY category. Lettuce isn’t and nor should Cannabis be.

  36. No more regulations on a herb, please keep govt off my property. Next thing you know they will be wanting to put chemicals in our weed to stop it from burning. No regulations. -DE-regulate the weed please.
    Decrimanalize it. Dont Criticize it..

  37. Dear MpR, “pothead” means someone that likes or has an affinity to pot or marijuana. The only “reason” there is a negative association with the word “pothead” is thanks to the endless negative propaganda the government and some heap on marijuana and everyone associated with it. Saying “pothead” is a negative thing, is the same as saying “marijuana is a negative thing, it will only bring trouble to your life. The people using are the same.” It is brainwashing; same as racism, it is the bullshit lies you’re not supposed to question.

  38. finally paid my phone net bill. This is fantastic news. Keep on rolling! We want legal weed. I was trying to say that the other day and I said wegal leed. heh Keep on going!

  39. wonder if rick scott will bite if a bill like this would pass.he doesnt seem to want to go against the fed. he says i have to take it up with the state rep in washington. wants nothing to do with it.! because he supports the pill industry…isnt that a damm shame, he has ties like that and he is governor?? WHO’S READY FOR THIS IN FLORIDA??

  40. It is important to remember what the benefits of legalization for society are, and to make sure the form of legislation that passes provides for those benefits.
    Foundation benefit of disenfranchising the black market so that those who sell ask for ID., and do not sell to our children.
    The current tax schemes being proposed destroy this benefit by keeping the black market alive and well.
    What other benefits need to be considered in designing such legislation, and why? How do we implement the most beneficial legalization for everyone involved?

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