Lawmakers Urge Federal Government to Ease Restrictions on Marijuana

U.S. representatives from Colorado and Oregon proposed legislation Tuesday to weaken federal restrictions on marijuana--the first steps in an attempt to address a growing gap between federal pot curbs and the increasing number of marijuana-friendly state laws.

Pictured: In this Nov. 7, 2012 file photo, Jake Dimmock, co-owner of the Northwest Patient Resource Center medical marijuana dispensary, works with flowering plants in a grow room in Seattle.
Two bills introduced in the House would give states more regulatory control over the drug and establish a pot excise tax as part of a move toward eventual legalization of marijuana at the federal level, where sale and use of the drug is currently banned. The proposals are likely to face steep challenges.

Legislation from Rep. Jared Polis (D., Colo.) calls for federal law to let states legalize marijuana within their boundaries. It proposes oversight of marijuana laws be moved to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D., Ore.) introduced a bill calling for a federal excise tax on marijuana sales. "We are in the process of a dramatic shift in the marijuana policy landscape," he said.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department, which oversees both the ATF and the DEA, said the department had yet to review the bills.


SOURCE: JOEL MILLMAN
The Wall Street Journal
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