During a press conference on Wednesday, Democratic congressmen from Oregon, Colorado, Washington, and California announced that they will push for legislation to loosen the restrictions on state-legal marijuana businesses.
The five representatives sponsoring reforms hope to ease the burden for businesses in the cannabis industry by allowing them to file for federal tax deductions, open bank accounts, and operate without fear of property or forfeiture claims. They plan to introduce three bills — the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act, the States’ Medical Marijuana Property Rights Protection Act, and an amendment to the IRS code relating to state-legal marijuana sales — and will seek to attach these measures to other legislation moving through Congress.
“These are relatively minor technical adjustments,” said Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, “and in times past, things like this would find their way to be part of larger pieces of legislation.” The Hill reported that the sponsors believe the bills have “little chance at moving on their own,” but that they may make it to the president’s desk if they are included in, say, the broader farm bill being debated before Congress.
The Democratic representatives were joined by businessmen involved in the sale of legalized marijuana for the announcement. Aaron Smith of the National Cannabis Industry Association told the press, “We are asking to be taxed. We are one of the only industries in the country coming to D.C. asking, ‘Tax us, but tax us fairly.’”
Supporters of the legislation claim that it will help end the dangerous “cash only” nature of state-legal marijuana businesses as well as solving conflicts between state and federal laws on the issue.