Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website www.lenoreskomal.net.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: February 5th, 2013
Democrats poised today to introduce first bill to legalize the industrial production of hemp

According to the Associated Press, several Democratic representatives are planning to introduce a bill before Congress today that would establish a hefty federal pot tax, in addition to legalizing the industrial production of hemp. If passed, it would sufficiently end the 75-year federal prohibition on pot.

While they admit passage has little chance, it would be the first attempt to legalize pot in this country this year.

The bill would give the federal government the power to regulate pot the way it regulates alcohol. Growers would need a permit to grow and distribute, and it would be removed from the enforcement of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Oversight would be given to the renamed “Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms.”

The federal government will get a hefty piece of the pie, charging a 50 percent excise tax on the first sale of the product. Excise taxes are currently levied against gasoline, cigarettes and alcohol and even gambling, are built into the price. Especially when pertaining to the latter, they are often called sin taxes.

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