As the United States continues to battle against unlawful immigration policies, attempts to undermine the health care system, unprecedented nepotism, and budget cuts to everything from the Environmental Protection Agency to Medicaid, one surprisingly bright light has suddenly appeared at the end of the greenest of tunnels.
Two politicians from Oregon, Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, are prepared to introduce a trio of new bills that would protect medical and recreational cannabis programs from the potential wrath of Donald Trump's administration. The three legislative measures aim to fill the gaps that legalized cannabis has faced on the federal level.
On Thursday, Wyden and Blumenauer introduced three different proposals to Congress, each of which aims to protect states from federal prosecution from every possible standpoint.
The most ambitious measure, entitled “The Marijuana Revenue And Regulation Act,” would effectively reschedule cannabis from the Schedule 1 category. Although states would still be able to outlaw the plant and enforce harsh penalties for transportation across state lines, federal rescheduling would officially put cannabis on the same level as alcohol and tobacco in states with legalization in place.
The second bill focuses strictly on tax-related issues. This measure would modify the current tax code “to allow businesses operating in compliance with state law to claim deductions and credits associated with the sale of marijuana like any other legal business.”
This particular proposal would also prevent the IRS from treating cannabis retailers as if they were illegal drug traffickers, as marijuana-related businesses are presently being hammered with excessive taxes due to federal illegality.
The final measure, entitled the “Responsibly Addressing The Marijuana Policy Gap Act,” is a loaded measure that would smooth over all of the remaining gaps that have plagued the cannabis industry since it first took off. Most importantly, the bill would “exempt any person acting in compliance with state marijuana law from criminal penalties.”
This would essentially prevent the federal government from having jurisdiction over states with recreational or medical legislation. In addition, this third measure would disallow the government from using marijuana-based drug tests to block prospective employees from obtaining federal jobs.
Lastly, health care workers at the Department of Veteran Affairs would be allowed to “provide recommendations and opinions” on medical cannabis. This would substantially widen the window that scientists have to research the medical benefits of the plant, reducing approval wait times, security measures, and the overwhelming layers of protocol review.
Both Wyden and Blumenauer believe this “three-step approach” is critical to boosting growth in jobs and the overall economy. Unfortunately, the two progressive congressmen have to hurdle over U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the rest of Trump's cronies, but their comprehensive legislation will be tough for the naysayers to dispute.