On February 17, 2017 four Congressmen announced a bipartisan “Congressional Cannabis Caucus”. Republican representatives Don Young (AK) and Dana Rohrbacher (CA) joined democrats Earl Blumeanauer (OR) and Jared Polis (CO) as co-chairs of the new caucus. In a press conference, they each outlined the importance of the caucus to their individual states and to the country. Representative Rohrbacher started by outlining the changes to the country’s outlook on marijuana, as 44 states now have laws permitting marijuana at varying levels. He noted the economic benefits and the importance of continuing to make progress on this issue. Representative Blumeanauer outlined four critical areas that need to be addressed 1. Not allowing the Federal government to prevent marijuana research; 2. Gaining access to marijuana for veterans, (VA hospitals are not allowed to prescribe medical marijuana); 3. Removing IRS code 280E which prohibits marijuana businesses from deducting business expenses on their federal tax returns; and 4. Ending the banking prohibition.
Representative Don Young of Alaska further explained the impact of the banking prohibition. (Marijuana businesses have difficulty getting bank accounts, potentially making it an all cash business.) When there is a great amount of surplus cash, Rep. Young has seen it “cause lots of sideline problems”. He wants to ensure these businesses are able to be run as businesses. Marijuana businesses should be able to utilize banks for loans and depositing cash. However, Representative Young’s primary interest in this caucus comes from his belief in state’s rights. During Q&A Mr. Young pointed out the hypocrisy of a conservative stance against legalization, “you can’t be a conservative and say we can pick and choose, you have to be for state’s rights or against state’s rights…” Alaska voters “voted to legalize it…pretty large margin” and Mr. Young is a representative of those people.
Continue Reading Marijuana Legalization – The Bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus