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Effort building to change US pot laws

5:31 PM, Feb 4, 2013   |    comments
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By GENE JOHNSON / Associated Press

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

Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon tells The Associated Press that lawmakers from both parties have been quietly working on several bills, and he and Colorado Democrat Jared Polis plan to introduce the first two on Tuesday. Polis' measure would let states legalize pot and require growers to obtain a federal permit, while Blumenauer's would create a federal marijuana excise tax.

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

Other measures being discussed include letting marijuana dispensaries obtain bank accounts and deduct business expenses on federal taxes.

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