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Gov. Polis celebrates marijuana rescheduling and tax relief it will bring for Colorado businesses

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Gov. Polis celebrates marijuana rescheduling and tax relief it will bring for Colorado businesses

Jun 21, 2024 | 5:14 pm ET
By Lindsey Toomer
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Gov. Polis celebrates marijuana rescheduling and tax relief it will bring for Colorado businesses
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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis speaks during a news conference on May 6, 2024, at the Colorado Capitol. (Quentin Young/Colorado Newsline)

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Friday celebrated the Biden administration’s decision to remove marijuana from a list of the most dangerous and highly regulated drugs.

Polis spoke during a remote press call alongside Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, who this week granted pardons to more than 175,000 people with marijuana convictions in his state. 

The Democratic governors said that the proposed move of marijuana from a Schedule I substance, which also includes heroin and methamphetamine, to Schedule III, which is the category for regulated-but-legal drugs including testosterone and Tylenol with codeine, is “the right thing to do.”

“When you do the right thing, people respect that and they support you for that, so I applaud President Biden for doing this for the right reasons,” Polis said. “It’s time to do it, and I’m confident that the people of our country are absolutely supportive of this.”

Polis said the rescheduling will remove the “heavy financial burden” that federal tax policies related to Schedule I substances have had on cannabis businesses in Colorado. While Colorado allows authorized cannabis businesses to make certain tax deductions, the federal tax costs are much higher, so the cuts to come from rescheduling will benefit businesses, he said. 

“This action from the President is pro-freedom, forward thinking, reduces taxes, helps our economy, and improves public safety, and it supports where over 30 states are with regards to some degree of medical marijuana legalization,” Polis said in the press conference. “We’re now up to 38 states that have taken some steps to legalize marijuana for medicinal or adult use, and then finally putting an end to the failed era of prohibition.”

Colorado was the first state in the country to legalize recreational marijuana, with sales starting in January 2014. It has since legalized marijuana delivery and hospitality businesses, Polis added. The state also has a Cannabis Business Office to provide economic support to the cannabis industry. 

“In so many ways, we feel we’re a model for the nation, and we look forward to making our cannabis laws even better and more effective in Colorado to improve public safety and boost our economy,” Polis said. 

Polis also applauded Moore for issuing pardons this week, a move Polis has made several times for people with marijuana convictions in Colorado. 

“One of the people who I pardoned earlier this week was a guy named Shiloh, where the only thing he got on his record was a misdemeanor cannabis conviction, and he has not been able to find steady employment because of it,” Moore said. “He was literally fired from a job that he had on day two because he couldn’t pass a background check.”

Marijuana remains a Schedule I substance until federal rulemaking processes are completed to confirm the drug’s rescheduling.