WASHINGTON – Five liberals in the House of Representatives stood outside the Capitol with representatives of the cannabis industry on Wednesday to call for new laws that would allow legal marijuana businesses to be treated by the Internal Revenue Service like any other industry.
Led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, the Democrats proposed changing the Internal Revenue Code to let medical and legal marijuana businesses take standard business deductions when computing their federal taxes every year.
The legislators all spoke of the positive effects of legal marijuana. Therefore, during a press availability, The Daily Caller asked these pro-cannabis industry legislators whether they enjoy smoking marijuana themselves. None answered in the affirmative, though several told stories of how the lives of sick people they know were enhanced by medical marijuana.
“After the hearing stories from patients, I will tell you, I will break my lifelong policy of not using it if I had overwhelming back pain, if I was dealing with nausea with chemotherapy,” Blumenauer said.
“I wouldn’t hesitate to consult with my physician and some of the experts in the field if I could minimize these really horrific symptoms,” he said. “I wouldn’t hesitate at all.”
Democratic Rep. Denny Heck of Washington simply answered, “No.”
But he went on to explain how his brother – a Vietnam veteran – used medical marijuana during over a decade-long battle with Hodgkin’s disease and leukemia.
“It would be the only way in which he would find relief,” Heck said.
“What an irony that the same federal government that asked my brother to go to Vietnam and serve as a Marine where he was exposed to Agent Orange that caused his Hodgkin’s disease would label him a felon for seeking relief from the medical use of marijuana,” Heck said. “This touches more lives than you can imagine.”
Similarly, Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter said he doesn’t smoke marijuana. “But I had a brother in law with melanoma which eventually became brain cancer and the only thing that gave him any relief was medical marijuana…I just needed to see the pain relief from that.”
Colorado Rep. Jared Polis said he had a great uncle who died from cancer two years ago. “He used medical marijuana in his final months to comfort him,” he said.
“We all have friends that are directly impacted, people who have met with us in our offices,” Polis said. “These are not unique stories. They are not rare stories. They are good, hardworking Colorado families who benefited from the medical marijuana laws in Colorado over the last decade.”
The legislators argued that new laws are needed because many legal marijuana businesses that follow state law are still forced to operate cash-only businesses, which lead to crime and lost tax revenue issues.