Inside The Push For A Federal Marijuana Tax

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Open your minds and your pocketbooks, man. A pair of bills introduced Tuesday by House Democrats would legalize marijuana and tax the industry.

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Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., sponsored a bill that would classify pot as a substance similar to alcohol and regulate it through a newly named "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms."

The legislation doesn't force states to legalize marijuana. But in states that have chosen to allow marijuana for medical or recreational use, related businesses will no longer run the risk of being raided by federal agents, Polis said.

"Congress should simply allow states to regulate marijuana as they see fit and stop wasting federal tax dollars on the failed drug war," Polis said in a press release.

A second bill would set up a federal tax on the newly legal marijuana industry, to offset the cost of regulation. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., proposed the bill that imposes taxes on people dealing with marijuana, like producers and importers. There would be penalties for those who don't pay the taxes. The bill asks the IRS to study the pot industry to come up with other recommendations.

"We are in the process of a dramatic shift in the marijuana policy landscape," Blumenauer said.

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