Senate Bill 420

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On February 8th, 2019, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) submitted the bill S.420 to Congress with the goal of legalizing marijuana. S.420 would give states a free hand to allow legal cannabis markets without the threat of federal criminal intervention. In other words, the bill would propose that marijuana, according to the Controlled Substance Act, set up a permit structure for marijuana businesses, and tax the new industry’s sales.

The proposed bill is identical to a bill introduced by U.S Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon, called HR 420. Senate Bill 420 would remove federal criminal penalties for individuals and businesses acting in compliance with state marijuana laws. A separate bill would impose a tax on marijuana products similar to taxes imposed on alcohol. Another would also allow state-legal marijuana businesses to claim tax deductions and credits.

Pros of Marijuana:

  • Medical uses: effective in relieving nausea and vomiting. Marijuana can also relieve the spasticity of the muscles
  • Help treat appetite loss associated with conditions such as HIV/AIDS and certain types of cancers
  • Relieves certain type of chronic pain
  • Safer than other medications prescribed to treat the same symptoms
  • Smoking marijuana alone does not increase the risk of lung diseases

Economic Pros of Marijuana:

  • Buoyant tax revenues (an indicator to measure efficiency and responsiveness of revenue mobilization in response to growth in the GDP) have resulted in Colorado and Washington over the past several years
  • in 2015, Colorado collected more than $135 million in taxes and fees on medical and recreational marijuana. Sales in the state totaled over $996 million
  • Sales in North America grew 30%, to $6.7 billion in 2016 and are projected to increase to $20.1 billion by 2021
  • Federal legal pot could generate an additional $131.8 billion in aggregate federal tax revenue by 2025
  • Nationwide legalization could generate 1.1 million jobs by 2025

Cons of Marijuana:

  • Affect short-term memory
  • Frequent use can impair cognitive ability
  • Risk of abusive behavior