DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Following a year of great reform for marijuana in states throughout the country, looming questions still remain about the future of federal marijuana reform.
In 2014, for the first time in the history of the drug war, the DEA no longer has funds to enforce federal statutes in states where marijuana is legal for at least the next two years. The D.C. City Council has also managed to announce its intent to implement recreational use because they feel they cannot “ignore” the will of the voters. In D.C., recreational use passed by 70% only to hit last minute horse trading in Congress over the Omnibus Budget Bill. Nevertheless, since no money is required to begin recreational sales, it appears that the D.C. City Council may proceed with its plans, potentially even per the good will of Congressional leadership.
The conversation on the topic all year in 2015 will be to move reform forward on the federal level beyond issues of law enforcement. The big topic on everyone’s agenda also appears to be taxes.
H.R. 501, introduced late last year, proposes legalizing marijuana at the federal level and taxing it with a whopping tax rate of 50%. This was not the only bill introduced in the last session, and some in fact did not propose any federal taxes but rather relegated this to the states.