House Democrats, with the support of Republicans such as Ron Paul, have introduced legislation to reverse the unfair treatment which medical marijuana dispensaries are subjected to. AlterNet reports:
Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA), Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced legislation to the House on Wednesday aimed at ensuring the medical marijuana industry is treated like any other business.
The legislation was supported by Republican Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (CA) and Ron Paul (TX).
The Small Business Tax Equity Act, introduced by Stark, authorizes medical marijuana dispensaries to take the full range of business expense deductions on their federal tax returns, like other legal businesses are allowed to.
“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.”
Fifteen states and the District of Colombia have passed laws permitting marijuana to be used as medicine.
Another bill, introduced by Frank, would make individuals and business immune to federal prosecution if they are acting in compliance with local marijuana laws. Additionally, the legislation would direct the White House to reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act so that it is no longer considered a highly addictive substance with no medical value.
Marijuana is currently listed as a schedule I drug, the most restrictive schedule with the greatest criminal penalties.
“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.”
Lastly, legislation introduced by Polis would ensure that medical marijuana businesses that are state-certified have full access to banking services.
While far more needs to be done to end the counterproductive war on drugs, these are stops in the right direction. Prohibition doesn’t work, and it is especially unfair to penalize those who use marijuana for medical reasons while following state laws which allow for this.