Push Begins To Change U.S. Marijuana Laws

SEATTLE (February 4, 2013)---From legalizing the industrial production of hemp to establishing a federal tax, an effort is building in Congress to change U.S. marijuana laws.

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., told The Associated Press lawmakers from both parties have been quietly working on several bills.

He said he and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., plan to introduce the first two on Tuesday.

Polis' measure would allow states to legalize pot and require growers to obtain a federal permit, while Blumenauer's would create a federal marijuana excise tax.

Blumenauer said the recent votes in Colorado and Washington state to legalize recreational marijuana show that it's past time for Congress to end the 75-year federal pot prohibition.

The lawmakers are also discussing measures that would let marijuana dispensaries obtain bank accounts and deduct business expenses on federal taxes.

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