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House GOP Blocks Another Marijuana Amendment

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It happened again: Republican congressional leadership has prevented yet another marijuana amendment from even being considered on the House floor.

This time, it was a measure intended to let marijuana businesses be taxed fairly.

Under a 1980s federal provision — known as 280E — cannabis businesses are forced to pay a much higher tax rate than companies in other industries.

The statute was originally intended to to stop drug cartel leaders from writing off yachts and expensive cars, but today its plain language means that that growers, processors and sellers of marijuana — which is still a Schedule I substance under federal law — can’t take business expense deductions that are available to operators in other sectors.

On Monday, the powerful House Rules Committee blocked an amendment to make sure the provision doesn’t apply to businesses that are following state marijuana laws from advancing.

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) was trying to attach the cannabis language to a larger bill concerning various reforms to IRS policies and structures.

“In effect, without this amendment that we can include here today, legal businesses in my state are forced to pay an effective federal tax rate as high as 70 percent,” he said. “I thought Republicans didn’t like 70 percent tax rates, but you can show that by adopting this amendment. If you fail to adopt this amendment, you’re showing that tax impeding small businesses is just another thing the Republican Party wants to do while they increasingly bloat the deficit.”

But on a party line vote of 7 to 4 on a Polis motion combining the marijuana amendment and two measures he filed concerning kombucha and cryptocurrencies, GOP lawmakers prevented the issue from reaching the full House.

Marijuana Moment Patreon supporters can see the text of Polis’s marijuana amendment and video of the Rules Committee discussion of it below:

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The full House hasn’t voted on any marijuana amendments since 2016, when Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) began consistently blocking them from advancing.

This Man Is The Reason Congress Can’t Vote On Marijuana Anymore

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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