Adam Schleifer Releases Plan To Federally Legalize Marijuana

Schleifer Says Federal Legalization Will Improve Criminal Justice and Raise Revenues

In Congress, Schleifer Will Push for the Federal Legalization of Marijuana to Add American Jobs in Place of Dangerous Drug Cartels, Generate Tax Revenue, and Increase Regulation for Quality and Safety

Schleifer: “Federally legalizing marijuana is an important step to remedy the criminal justice system and generate much-needed tax revenue.”

Adam P. Schleifer, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in New York’s 17th District, announced his support to federally legalize marijuana.  As a former federal prosecutor who took on fraud cases and major international drug cartels, Schleifer understands the need to federally legalize marijuana to curb illegal marijuana trade including dangerous cartels, generate tax revenues, create jobs, and protect public health and safety.  Schleifer’s plan includes removing marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and federally decriminalizing the possession and licensed distribution of marijuana.  Additionally, Schleifer will reform the tax code and related federal statutes affecting the financial treatment of marijuana, its proceeds and the access to credit it needs to function legitimately.  Lastly, Schleifer calls for amending international treaties that would otherwise put the US out of compliance under federal legalization of marijuana. 

“Federally legalizing marijuana is an important step to remedy the criminal justice system and generate much-needed tax revenue,” said Schleifer.  “We should let American farmers, and not international drug cartels, meet the demand for marijuana under the framework of federal safety and purity regulation by the FDA.  Federal legalization would generate important tax dollars while reducing the financial inefficiencies and fraud that are endemic to our existing state-by-state patchwork system.”

Schleifer’s plan includes federally decriminalizing the possession and licensed distribution of marijuana in order to reduce arrests and, instead, focus on generating tax revenue and creating American jobs.  Enforcing marijuana possession laws costs police $3.6 billion dollars each year, with Black Americans disproportionately targeted by police for possession.  This is both unnecessary and unfair for a substance with the health and safety profile of a product that has some medical applications and is probably less physically-addictive and dangerous than alcohol.  Rather than spending billions of dollars each year in tax revenue, the legalization of marijuana would generate an estimated $131.8 billion in federal tax revenue and add 1.1 million jobs by 2025.  By legalizing marijuana, the unfair treatment in arrests of people of color could be drastically reduced, in addition to generating billions of dollars in tax revenue.

Schleifer would remove of marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act to increase medical research capabilities.  In 1970, with the passing of the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana was temporarily placed in the most restrictive categorization – Schedule I – mostly because the administration did not know how to schedule it.  Other drugs in this classification include heroin, LSD, and ecstasy, all highly addictive and dangerous substances.  However, marijuana has been shown to help with serious pain control, manage nausea and to treat glaucoma.  Under the current classification, scientists are limited in their research.  Rescheduling marijuana will allow for safe research and testing through federal safety and purity regulation by the FDA, improving public health.

The plan also would reform the tax code and related federal statutes affecting the financial treatment of marijuana, its proceeds and the access to credit it needs to function legitimately.  As Schleifer describes in his interview with Tom Firestone of Baker McKenzie, severe restrictions exist for those in the cannabis industry, including the inability to deduct typical expenses when calculating tax obligation.  As a federal prosecutor who prosecuted fraud-related cases, Schleifer has witnessed the consequences of this tax code, including tax fraud and pressures to cut costs, leading to negative effects on quality control in the industry.  With the federal legalization of marijuana, these issues of tax fraud can be reduced, and those working in the industry can make a decent living off a drug that has thus far been shown to be less addictive than alcohol.

Lastly, Schleifer is calling on the administration to amend the relevant international treaties and our obligations under them to allow for our continued participation in these treaties that would currently be breached under federally legalized marijuana.  Schleifer will work with our international partners to amend these restrictions that could benefit all parties involved.  This opportunity is more attainable than ever, considering many countries have now legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use or decriminalized its possession.

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