The 420 Bills: Federal Action to Legalize Marijuana

By: Fabiola Jimenez, Strategic Legal Counsel at Cultiva Law

The 420 Bills, introduced in Congress by two Senators from Oregon, seeks to overcome one of the greatest uphill battles faced by the cannabis community: the stigma that sometimes attaches to the plant. Despite the fact that the legal marijuana industry has engendered billions of dollars in economic activity, including in the cannabis-friendly state of Oregon, some still view cannabis as a “gateway drug” and not a “gateway investment.”

But Senator Wyden and Representative Blumenauer’s 420 Bills constitute large legal leap forward for the cannabis community: a legitimate attempt to bring the state-side success of legalized marijuana onto a national scale by introducing relevant bills in both the Senate and House of Representatives. In the Senate, the “Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act” (S. 420) would create a national framework for states to choose their own paths on marijuana. The companion bill proposed in the House (H.R. 420) is identical.

The 420 Bills themselves would institute a number of benefits for marijuana consumers and businesses, including:

  • De-scheduling marijuana by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act;
  • Allowing for marijuana to be taxed and regulated like alcohol;
  • Creating a permit system for businesses to engage in legal sale of the plant; and
  • Alleviating federal criminal penalties for those in compliance with state marijuana laws.

However, these 420 Bills are not open-ended. In fact, these measures are part of a narrow “Path to Marijuana Reform” package which is focused on treating this diverse plant like a traditional commodity.

With the growing support of voters across so many state lines for the legalization of marijuana, many in the cannabis community are hopeful, that even if these 420 Bills don’t pass this time around – especially considering the current Administration’s take on marijuana – that they will, at least, begin a conversation regarding the legalization of marijuana on a much larger scale than ever before. Marijuana businesses are booming, tax-generating, feel-good machines. We at Cultiva Law eagerly await the fate of these 420 Bills and we are happy to discuss any business concerns you may have.

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