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Federal Legalization Would Reap $13.7 Billion in Revenue
The Congressional Budget Office has analyzed the MORE Act passed by the House last week and announced that its implementation would earn the federal government $13.7 billion over the next decade.
Analysts also point out that $1 billion would be saved on federal prison spending by reducing the prison terms of current and future inmates by 73,000 person-years.
Eight billion of the revenue would come from business taxes on the legal marijuana industry, while the remaining $5.7 billion will derive from excise taxes. Of that amount, $3 billion will go toward job training and other programs for communities impacted by the Drug War. The remainder, $2.7 billion, will go toward state and local grants to businesses involved in licensing, reports Marijuana Moment.
House Considering Bill to Allow Federal Study of State-Legal Marijuana
The Medical Marijuana Research Act will be voted on in the US House this week.
Since the late 1970s, the federal cannabis farm at the University of Mississippi has been the only source for scientists to acquire marijuana to study. Researchers have long criticized the poor quality of the government’s marijuana, noting its low concentrations of THC and indiscriminate blending of bud, leaf, and stems make it an invalid comparison to the hydroponic sinsemilla of today.
Marijuana Moment reports that the Act seeks to work around stonewalling from the Drug Enforcement Administration regarding the licensing of other federally-approved cannabis cultivators by allowing scientists to acquire marijuana from legal sources in the 36 states that have approved medical marijuana.
As the bill is being considered under a suspension of House rules, there will be no further amendments to it, and it must pass by a two-thirds majority.
New Jersey Lawmakers Reach Agreement on Legalization Details
Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday that lawmakers in the Garden State have come to a consensus on the details of legislation to enable the legalization of marijuana approved by voters last month.
NBC-4 in New York reports that marijuana in New Jersey will be subject to the state’s 6.625% sales tax. Seventy percent of the proceeds from that tax will be earmarked for social equity programs.
The bill legalizes possession of six ounces of marijuana and drops all pending marijuana charges but removes the opportunities for expunging past marijuana criminal convictions found in previous bills. There will be a statewide limit of 37 cultivation licenses for two years, but no limitation on dispensaries. Cities can add an optional two percent tax and have the right to ban marijuana businesses.
Marijuana Now the Most Valuable Crop in Maine
Move over, potatoes, milk, and blueberries. There’s a new top agricultural crop in the Pine Tree State and it’s cannabis.
Sales in the Maine medical marijuana program are more than double this year-to-date than the previous year, coming in at $221.8 million, according to reporting in the Portland Press-Herald.
Last year, Maine marijuana brought in more than $109 million, doubling analysts’ expectations. That was the first year sales data from Maine’s 3,000 registered caregivers was tallied along with dispensary sales.
Those caregivers accounted for over three-out-of-four cannabis sales in 2019.
Maine has also seen a boom in demand, thanks to the loosening of recommendation requirements to any condition a doctor deems appropriate and the adoption of reciprocity for out-of-state medical marijuana patients, especially from Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey, where prices are higher and selection thinner.
Democrat Bustos Explains Rejecting MORE Act While Representing a Legal State
Only six Democratic members of the US House voted last week against the MORE Act. Two of those Democrats represent Illinois, a state whose legislature legalized marijuana in 2013. Now, one of them, Rep. Cheri Bustos from Moline, is defending her rejection of federal marijuana legalization.
Bustos says the MORE Act wasn’t clear about which offenses would be considered “non-violent” when it comes to the expungement of federal criminal records, according to the Quad City Times.
“I have supported allowing federal research into marijuana, voted for legislation that would fix federal banking issues for Illinois marijuana retailers and growers, and understand states’ roles in legalizing this substance,” Bustos said. “While I could not cast my vote for this legislation, I hope to play a constructive role as debate on this issue continues.”